Appeal – Strange situation!

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    ben steventon

    We had a reported decision issued with regard to an appeal from a tenant of a registered charity – In short – In accordance with Cons Provs we were restricting rent to ROD when claimants werent protected under vulnerability:

    >Aged 60 or over.
    >Responsible for a child.
    >Incapable of work.

    We won the case and we agreed with the Landlord (who as a charity, represented the appellant) that there was no point in making future appeals on the same grounds, as a resported decision had been made.

    The Landlord is now submitting appeals on the exact same grounds, and stating that they are taking the case to UT Tribunal (although they are probably late doing so).

    My questions is – Is there any way of stopping this, or do we physically have to create a submission for each and every case? We can’t change the original reported decision pending possible outcome from UT.


    It’s easy to get sucked into viewing these as the landlord’s appeals, which of course they are not. I am sure you knew that, but it does emphasise that the decision in every case must be an individual one.

    If I understand you correctly, you have accepted that the tenancies are “exempt accommodation”, which means that you must decide in every case what you think a reasonable rent for suitable accommodation would be. You can have regard to a Rent Officer’s determination as part of that process, and it may be that more often than not you tend to conclude that suitable alternative accommodation would probably cost just about the same as the Claim Related Rent.

    But I don’t think you can say that because in one reported Upper Tribunal case a restriction to that amount was upheld that a corresponding restriction can and should always be applied in every other non-vulnerable case. Every tenant has the right to dispute your view of what suitable alternative accommodation would cost for him/her.

    Really, it’s no different from the early 1990s when everyone was subject to “old” Reg 13. I must have presented hundreds of appeals against routine non-vulnerable rent restrictions in those days, all exactly the same and each submission little more than a find-and-replace job to insert the appropriate name and address in the standard document. But they all had the right to appeal – we couldn’t say “You are no different from every other private tenant paying £50 a week above the odds for a one-bed flat. We have already won loads of appeals just like yours, so there isn’t really any point you wasting your time”.

    Kevin D

    I completely echo Peter’s observations with one other, possibly unwelcome (to some), addition.

    In dealing with “exempt accommodation” cases, some LAs have had contact with landlords and/or related parties such that by any objective view, the LA has undoubtedly been “negotiating”. Sometimes, that “negotiation” has been in good faith with a view to limiting possible difficulties. On other occasions LAs have, frankly, been seeking to make decisions that are politically, or adminstratively, expedient with benefits legislation being a mere inconvenience.

    My view, fairly well known on this issue, is that LAs simply should not be “agreeing” with landlords as to the basis of its decisions. The case here is a classic example as to why. There is no legal basis for such “agreements” or “negotiation” and, further, such “agreements” have a nasty habit of coming back to bite the LA (first hand knowledge).

    So, while appreciating your (probable) annoyance Ben, the (apparent) failure of the LL to keep its word is not at all surprising. In fact, if I had been a betting man……all too predictable 😯 . As Peter points out, no agreement can take away the right of appeal in an individual case – even if the facts happen to be identical in other, decided, cases.

    Just for completeness and for fair warning, there is another tactic that has, on occasion, been used by LLs (and/or related consultants) in exempt accommodation cases. It goes like this:

    1) LA makes restriction decision that is ultimately appealed
    2) Tribunal finds for LA

    At that point, the LA thinks “great”, we were right. Until….

    3) LL reduces rent by a couple of £ per week, OR, makes purported minor change to other arrangements.
    4) LA is forced to make new “outcome” decision.
    5) Yet another appeal…….

    All I can say is, the best of luck Ben. You’ll need it.


    Have a look at Rule 18 which deals with test cases at the discretion of a Tribunal.

    I am not sure if these cases could be deemed to fall completely within this remit as PB points out but there could be part of the appeal that does.


    I’ve got a claim similar to the one above. We have a landlord who we believe is renting his properties through a charity so that he can receive direct payments and also potentially receive an amount higher than LHA.

    The contractual rent for the property is £550 pm – but due to the state of this area the ROD is always in the region of £325 pm.

    The tenant has a 2 year old child, does this mean that we cannot restrict the rent to the ROD figure as she is in a vulnerable group?


    Kevin D

    [quote:bb24e2615c]The tenant has a 2 year old child, does this mean that we cannot restrict the rent to the ROD figure as she is in a vulnerable group? [/quote:bb24e2615c]

    The following assumes this is, in any case, “exempt accommodation” (is care, support or supervision being provided by, or on behalf of the L/L?). If not, LHA applies.

    Falling within a “vulnerable group” does not necessarily mean a restriction cannot be made. The LA must FIRST decide whether or not the rent is “unreasonably high” by comparison with the cost of suitable alternative accommodation (SAA) elsewhere (or by comparison with the ROD).

    If it is, a restriction MUST be applied UNLESS…… and one of those “unlesses” is where someone falls within a vulnerable group AND SAA is not [u:bb24e2615c]available[/u:bb24e2615c] to the clmt.

    As suggested on another thread earlier, the commentary in the CPAG to “old” reg 13 is helpful as a starting point.


    Thanks Kevin


    Again assuming you are satisfied that the tenancy is exempt accommodation (the charity provides support to this claimant), I wouldn’t go so far as to say you cannot restrict the rent, but it is a bit more difficult if the claimant is “vulnerable” for old Reg 13 purposes – you have to demonstrate that something cheaper and suitable is available before you can restrict HB. The particular difficulty in exempt accommodation, which some landlords appear to have exploited, is that suitable accommodation for a tenant with support needs is harder to identify than accommodation that is just generally suitable for the average person. But iof you can find such accommodation that is available, or likely to be available to your claimant, you can restrict her HB.

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