Boat Licence Eligible For HB

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    I agree with Stainsby CH/4250/2006 covers it. The argument that this is only about Mooring Charges is a Red Herring IMHO


    1.The arguments of the authority in this case are fallacious. There is no doubt that the claimant is liable to make periodical payments, nor that the liability is “in respect of the dwelling which he occupies as his home” (my emphasis). The analysis by the authority obscures the broad meaning to be given to the words emphasised. It is not a necessary part of the concept of a “home” that there be facilities, utilities, shops or security arrangements. The relevant payments amount to “mooring charges payable for a houseboat”; they do not need to be utility or amenity or any other kind of charges. '


    Pay it. :crown:

    Pete Mc

    I disagree and don't think CH/4250/2006 covers boat licences at all but the fact that there is disagreement means that it is worth testing at tribunal.  I think mooring charges and boat licences are very different things, I consider mooring charges to be similar to paying site fees to park your caravan on a site.  The boat licence is more like the road tax payable to put your caravan on the road. 

    Just my opinion obviously but I was really hoping the guy in my case would appeal so that I could have the case heard and get some kind of definitive answer one way or the other.


    Bristol ex p. Jacobs is not particularly relevant here because in ex p. Jacobs  Owen J held (emphasis mine)

    "I now turn to the words, "in respect of, or in consequence of". The applicant's argument amounts to saying that once a tenant can show use and occupation, any payments in consequence, although not to the landlord, must be taken into account. On the tenant's full argument it would be possible to claim payments for water, heating, lighting, television, fuel and even decorating. Logically this was the original conclusion sought by the applicant. I am satisfied that no such conclusion was ever intended. In this connection, it is, I consider, permissible to consider the anomaly which the applicant's construction would produce. A tenant being separately liable for water, sewerage and allied environmental services would be far better off financially, although there is no discernable reason why this should be so."

    The legislation as a whole precludes water rates from being met by HB. Bristol ex p Jacobs confirmed this to be so.  Owen J never went so far as to specifically define which payments could be held to be in consequence of occupation of a dwelling, although he was restrictive as to what payments could be held to be in respect of such occupation.

    CH/844/2002 is ample authority for the premise that the waterways licence is an eligble cost for HB. That authority has stood the test of time and CH/4250/2006 only adds to it


    Pete Mc

    CH/844/2002 is ample authority for the premise that the boat licence is an eligible cost for HB if there is rent being paid (i.e. mooring charges) in the same way that lighting and heating communal areas in blocks of flats are eligible costs for HB but we don't pay them if no rent is in payment.


    That's my interpretation, you have yours.  There is no UT decision (that I'm aware of) which deals with boat licences in isolation where there are no mooring charges in place.  Until there is I will continue to refuse them, although I've only seen this one case in 20 years of working here so it's not a major issue for us.  If you wish to pay your cases based upon the existing legislation and case law then that is your decision and you may very well be correct to do so.


    Regulation 12B (2) provides that a persons eligble rent is the aggregate of such payments specified in Regulation 12(1).  There is no provision to deem payments ineligible if the person is not liable for certain other payments specified in Regulation 12(1)

    Ex p Jacobs considered the equivalent provision to what is now Regulation 12B(2)(a)

    I think you are reading something into the Regulations that is simply just not there

    I am not an HB assessor by the way I am a Welfare Rights Advisor and represent claimants.

    Pete Mc

    I think we'll just have to agree to disagree.  I hope, if I ever need a welfare rights advisor, that they are as clued up and determined as you!


    I will say that generally I would consider myself as someone who will try to help claimants and will look to make favourable decisions where possible, I'm not a Protector of the Public Purse type.  I just genuinely consider that a boat licence is not rent and not what HB was brought in to help people with.  That's just me though!


    ' I will continue to refuse them, although I've only seen this one case in 20 years'

    You must be in a desert. We see about 20 every year with numerous variations including living on a boat in a dry dock…



    Dont get me wrong, I can see the attaction of the argument that where the owner of a houseboat does not have a fixed mooring or any mooring that he has to pay specific mooring charges for, he therefore does not have a landlord that he is liable to make payments to, and without such a liability HB is not payable

    I still think that all the authorities where houseboats have been invloved do stack up against that argument.

    An interesting analogy though is raised by the Tribunal of Commisioners decision R(IS)4/91.  This involved payments for emptying a septic tank that were incurred by a freeholder.  (Someone who by definition does not have a landlord)

    Off grid sewerage charges are not "water charges" as defined by HB Regulation 2. 

    The Commissioners  first of all had to consider whether or not the charge could amount to a service charge that was eligible to be met by IS housing costs. (The IS legislation in the main refers back to HB legislation re service chages)

    The Commissioners answer was a qualified "yes".  The Commissioners held at paragraph 17 of the Common Appendix (the case was heard alongside R(IS)3/91)

    "If as  rather appears by what is contained in Mr. Rowland’s written submission, the arrangements giving rise to the recurring charges are contained in a private contract made by the claimant with a particular organisation limited to the purpose of emptying his septic tank then that will not qualify, according to our definition above, as a housing service charge. But if it is imposed upon him and others under, or by, the terms on which he holds his property, and that could include a statutory undertaker under a duty to empty septic tanks in the claimant’s area and for which it is required to make a charge, which he is then obliged to suffer and pay, then the result would be otherwise on the positive side at least. "

    To return to the present case, the Commissioner held in CH/844/2002 that the waterways licence is not analogous to paying road tax to keep a car on the road, and that is was a cost arising in consequence of the claimant occupying the houseboat as his home. That much is established.   I think it is also established by R(IS)4/91 that the cost can, depending on the circumstances, be a cost that is incidental to any costs that are or are not directly payable to the person's landlord or any superior landlord

    The circumstances in the present case are such that the person cannot occupy the houseboat without paying for the licence, and it must be a cost that is eligible to be met by HB for that reason 

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