Any suggestions on how to get around a HB on 2 Homes dilemma?

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  • #39520
    selina_neville
    Participant

    Hello guys – happy Friday first of all.

    I am hoping someone may have some ideas or advice on a situation I have here. This is the scenario:

    Two friends – young ladies with learning difficulties – being supported by a charity; one is on I/S and the other on IB and receives DLA/DLM.

    They were Housing Association tenants (each had their own tenancy)but decide to jointly take on the tenancy of a Council Property. Here is where the problems start; they do not move in on their tenancy start date but wait about 2 weeks. The HB is cancelled at the old address from the actual date they vacated and starts at the new property from the date they occupied.

    They are now faced with 2 weeks rent arrears at the new property because of course the clock started ticking when their TA started. They asked for HB on 2 homes but this was turned down because they did not move in on their tenancy start date.

    Their support worker has now put in an appeal against our decision not to pay HB on 2 homes and said they could not move in on the TA start date because the property had no furniture, no white goods and there were security bars on the windows;

    I have looked up the regulations and if I am interpreting properly, there are certain circumstances where we can pay HB on a property before a tenant moves in (e.g. if they were waiting for a social fund loan or they have disabilities) HOWEVER it also says the tenants would not be eligible to claim HB at their old home as well. So whichever way I look at it, I can’t find a way to pay HB to clear the 2 weeks rent arrears.

    Some people have suggested that the claimants (or their support worker) would need to approach the Housing Dept and ask them to change the start date of the tenancy if the property was not habitable when the tenancy was issued however I am told that the chances of this being agreed are very slim…

    Since they have put in an appeal, I would have to prepare the submission and send off to TAS unless I can think of any other way around it. Any suggestions, ideas???

    Thanks and nice weekend all

    Selina

    #112387
    walmslm
    Participant

    There’s nothing to help you out in the regs, they are simply not entitled to HB on both properties in this scenario.

    Waving the rent for 2 weeks seems to be the best solution, however one option that MAY be able to be considered is a DHP. The guidance states that HB must be in payment in order for a DHP to be paid however it does not go as far as stating it has to be in payment in respect of the property for which the DHP is paid.

    Too be honest i think it’s a long shot, I’m not really sure you could use a DHP in this scenario but it might might be worth having a close look at the guidance and regs to see if you could interpret them at all in this way.

    #112390
    selina_neville
    Participant

    [quote=walmslm]There’s nothing to help you out in the regs, they are simply not entitled to HB on both properties in this scenario.

    Waving the rent for 2 weeks seems to be the best solution, however one option that MAY be able to be considered is a DHP. The guidance states that HB must be in payment in order for a DHP to be paid however it does not go as far as stating it has to be in payment in respect of the property for which the DHP is paid.

    Too be honest i think it’s a long shot, I’m not really sure you could use a DHP in this scenario but it might might be worth having a close look at the guidance and regs to see if you could interpret them at all in this way.[/quote]

    Thanks for that – DHP had not even entered into my mind so I will explore this a bit more in depth and see if it would be a possibility! I’ll let you know if it’s feasible – good thinking! :glasses:

    #112422
    selina_neville
    Participant

    Hello there and thank you so much for such a comprehensive reply! I have printed it out and will read and digest it properly as there is a lot of valuable info here. Thanks again and have a great weekend.

    #112421
    d-stainsby
    Participant

    The restrictions on your ability to pay are in Regulation 5(2) of the DFA Regs as amended

    “(2) A relevant authority may make discretionary housing payments to a person only in respect of a period during which that person is or was entitled to housing benefit or council tax benefit or to both

    and in Regulation 4 as amended

    “4. The amount of a discretionary housing payment (if calculated as a weekly sum) shall not exceed, in a case where the need for further financial assistance arises as a consequence of the liability to make–

    (a) periodical payments in respect of the dwelling which a person occupies as his home, other than payments in respect of council tax, an amount equal to the aggregate of the payments specified in–
    (i) regulation 12(1) of the Housing Benefit Regulations less the aggregate of the amounts referred to in regulation 12B(2) of those Regulations calculated on a weekly basis in accordance with regulations 80 and 81 of those Regulations; or
    (ii) regulation 12(1) of the Housing Benefit (State Pension Credit) Regulations less the aggregate of the amounts referred to in regulation 12B(2) of those Regulations, calculated on a weekly basis in accordance with regulations 61 and 62 of those Regulations; or

    (b) payments in respect of council tax, an amount equal to the weekly amount of council tax liability of that person calculated on a weekly basis.”

    In the present case, the claimants were entitled to housing benefit througout the period in question, so no problem with Reg 5(2) but you have a problem with Regulation 4 because it refers to payments in respect of the dwelling the person occupies as his home, and refers back to Regulation 12 of the HB Regs (which also refers to the dwelling occupied as the home.)

    The problem you have with awarding the DHP in respect of the past period is that the claimants were not occupying the dwelling as their home. They were occupying their former dweling.

    Whilst there is not necessarily a problem as such with awarding a DHP and at the same time paying full HB (see Gargett v LB Lambeth CA 18 Dec 2008,) there is a problem paying the DHP if full HB has also been awarded for the same period. Mummery LJ held at paragraph 25 of Gargett

    “25. I should explain that, although the amount of housing benefits already received for the relevant period is not expressly specified as a deduction in 12 (3) (b) (i) to (iii), it is accepted by Mr Knafler that, by virtue of the provisions in Regulation 2 of the 2001 Regulations that DHPs that are “further financial assistance” with “housing costs”, housing benefits already paid for past housing costs must also be deducted. That is implicit in the purpose for which DHPs may be made. Otherwise, the applicant would be receiving DHPs for housing costs that have already been met by past payment of housing benefits. It would not be a case of a need for “further” financial assistance to meet “housing costs”

    I note that one of the claimants is receiving DLA care and mobility. What rate of DLA is paid? In particular, is the mobility component at the low of high rate? If it was at the high rate, would this indicate that adaptations were needed to the new property in order to accommodate the persons disablement needs? You might be able to pay benefit on 2 homes for that individual[ HB Reg 7(6)(e)] and at the same time apportion the eligible rent to take into account the fact that the other joint tenant has no means of paying her share. Its stretching a point but you are not precluded from doing this (see CH/3376/2002)

    #112449
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Isn’t this just what DHPs are for? Certainly IDS and Grant Shapps would say so. Seriously, we use them for this scenario all the time. You are not making a DHP to supplement periodical payments made in respect of the home, you are making it to meet other “housing costs”

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