CH/4234/2004

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  • #22699
    aosulliv
    Participant

    Finally received a request for a review of a decision made in respect of the recovery of an overpayment of HB following the Tribunal of Commissioners decision.

    This is the scenario:

    A claimant was in reciept of HB as a part time earner, after approximately fifteen months, it was established that the claimant was a full time student and not entitled to HB as did not fall into one of the permitted categories.

    Overpayment created in August 2003 with notification letters issued to the Landlord and Claimant.

    The overpayment notification letter states that ‘This is a recoverable overpayment and an invoice will be sent to you/your Landlord for an amount of £xxxx.
    I will send you further details about this shortly.’

    The next notification letter that is issued is to the Landlord with an invoice, but no correspondence is sent to the claimant to inform him of the fact that it has been decided to recover from the Landlord.

    The claimant is now being chased for rent arrears (and possible eviction) so his Solicitor is requesting a reinstatement of the money that has been repaid (to ensure continued tenancy) and the recovery of the overpayment from ongoing entitlement (now on IS).

    Is there any way around this based on the information contained. As it stands, I think the letters that were issued do not stand up to scrutiny if you follow CH/4234/2004.

    #9177
    Anonymous
    Guest

    It sounds to me as if you got it right in the first place: you notified both of the people from whom the overpayment was recoverable, and warned the pair of them that one or other would be hearing from you again with a bill. That’s all that CH/4234/2004 requires you to have done. Any subsequent choices you made about whom to bill were outside the HB decision-making process. The landlord paid the bill, job done. Now it seems the tenant is being pursued for the consequent debt to the landlord. That’s his problem, not yours.

    Sounds a bit ruthless, but that’s where the Commissioner’s decision has left us.

    #9178
    markp
    Participant

    Is your OP recovery target correct? I would think under the new OP regs only the claimant can be the OPRT in this particular case. Is the landlord the appellant?

    Assuming that the LL is the appellant.

    You need to ensure that both parties are notified of the fact that there is a recoverable OP and then select your OPRT. As said in another thread I don’t see both decisions being a problem on the same letter to the selected OPRT but I don’t think that the other should be told that they won’t be asked to repay the overpayment because they would possibly fall into the frame at a later stage.

    The problem is that you are now potentially revising the OP decision under the new regs and so probably wouldn’t proceed to tribunal on that because I think the claimant should be the OPRT.

    Assuming the claimant is the appellant.

    You need to ensure that the claimant/ landlord are notified as above of the recoverable OP and the appropriate OPRT identified and notified. The appeal could, in my humble opinion, be submitted as it stands but with the appropriate additional letters filling the gaps set out by CH 4234/2004.

    However I still feel that recovery from the claimant would be best so a complete revision of the original decision should be made and then start all over again!

    I don’t completely understand the Solicitor’s stance on this. Recovery has been identified as from the LL and so how can there be any reinstatement of the money paid and then recovery of this from ongoing deductions (unless I’ve missed something). If you follow my train of thought and switch OPRT you could bring the invoice back to the claim and instigate recovery from ongoing deductions but to reinstate the previous payment would surely create a duplicate payment OP and make the matter worse. Is this a solicitor who, perchance like so many, does not fully understand benefit legislation?

    That’s my view and I await correction, post haste!!

    Peter beat me to it but based on the content of the letter you could find criticism over the wording of letters (we do) so perhaps it would depend on exactly what was said in any letter. Did the landlord pay the bill or is it still outstanding but simply added on as rent arrears for the tenant. As I understand possession orders an OP of HB does not necessarily grant a possession order and chances are your claimant would be at worst subject to a suspended possession order, unless, of course, they are only a licensee at the property.

    Do I know what I'm doing? The jury's out on that........................

    #9179
    aosulliv
    Participant

    The decision regarding recovery was made in August 2003, so fell under the old reg 101.

    Mark,

    I think I may have confused you on reissuing payment. What I should have said was reverse post the overpayment therefore recrediting the money that has been paid by the Landlord to clear the overpayment and then recovering the debt from ongoing entitlement.

    One more point, the Landlord asked for a SoR in Aug 03 and a response to this was issued. The Solicitors are trying to state that the claimant should have also been given a copy of this letter. I don’t think they have grounds for an argument on that one though.

    #9180
    markp
    Participant

    aosulliv,

    I did think that, after submitting post (as one does). I take it that you aren’t going to change OPRT and so would submit any appeal based under old regs then?

    Is this a late appeal or is it still outstanding? Perhaps the SoR should have been sent to the claimant who, after all, remains in the frame to some degree, even under the old regs.

    Do I know what I'm doing? The jury's out on that........................

    #9181
    aosulliv
    Participant

    I am going to treat it as outside the absolute time limit.

    Don’t want to change target of recovery after we have already recvd the payment.

    Whilst it is probably good practise to send SoR’s to all affected parties, I don’t think that it is laid down that we have to, as effectively, all we have to do is notify the affected people of the decision (which was done in Aug 03) and let them disagree accordingly.

    #9182
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I agree, I cannot see a way back into this for the claimant.

    #9183
    markp
    Participant

    Now I follow!

    Do I know what I'm doing? The jury's out on that........................

    #9184
    jamcon
    Participant

    Nowich City Council v Stringer on the caselaw section may prove of use to you in this case.

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