Change of Circs – How far back?

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  • #38671
    liffe
    Participant

    This may sound a daft question but how far can we go back with a change in circ (beneficial)?
    We have a claim running since 2008, and the last time the clmt notified us of a rent increase was in 2009. He has learning difficulties & struggles to manage his own affairs. This has only come to light when his father came to the office with him & has now decided to become his appointee.
    He has accrued large rent arrears & is asking us to consider accepting the rent increases up to date as he has now provided proof. The property is rented from a housing association.

    #109165
    Kevin D
    Participant

    Upto 13 months from the date of the change, subject to the other hoops of DAR 9 being satisfied.

    This doesn’t mean 13 months going back from the date of the LA becoming aware of the change; the 13 months clock starts ticking from the date of change. For example, say a change occurred in Jan 2011 and the LA became aware today, the change is treated as made in January and then takes effect under the normal change of circs rules. Simple enough.

    But, what if there are more beneficial changes going back more than 13 months? Example:

    Jan 2010: rent increase 1
    Jan 2011: rent increase 2
    Aug 2011: LA notified AND DAR 9 satisfied in the context of special circumstances etc.

    Jan 2011 is easy enough; the change is treated as if notifed in time.

    But, what about 2010? THAT date of change hasn’t occurred within the 13 months immediately prior to the change being notified and therefore, DAR 9(2)(b) isn’t satisfied. It doesn’t matter that the period from July 2010 to Feb 2011 is within 13 months; DAR 9 explicitly requires the date of change to have been within the past 13 months.

    So, the first rent increase can’t be taken into account AT ALL, but the second can.

    #109166
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Might be worth checking if the HA usually notifies the LA directly, maybe by sending a spreadsheet with all of their rent increases each year.

    #109168
    liffe
    Participant

    Have already checked for that one, but thanks anyway.

    #109169
    Anonymous
    Guest

    You can also revise any decision made within the 13 months leading up to the date when the request was made, as long as you are satisfied that the “special reasons” test is satisfied. For example, if the rent increased in January 2010 as in Kevin’s example, and there was an April uprating decision in April 2010, and the claimant and his father approached you in April 2011, you could revise the April 2010 decision to include the January 2010 rent.

    #109172
    liffe
    Participant

    My scenario is the clmt and father came into the office on 29 July 2011 to request the rent increases to be looked at. The rent increases were effective from 7/6/10 and 6/6/11. Am I right in assuming the June 2011 only can be considered?

    #109173
    Anonymous
    Guest

    It depends whether any HB decisions haave been made in the meantime – for any reason on any issue. You can revise any decision that was made from 29 June 2010 onwards.

    #109175
    liffe
    Participant

    The only decision made since 2010 was on 25/3/11 when we did annual uprating for hb. What date can we consider a revsion from in this case?

    #109186
    Anonymous
    Guest

    In that case you can revise the annual uprating decision from 1 or 4 April as appropriate – better than nothing.

    #139903
    crf01
    Participant

    My situation is as follows, having tried to understand the above posts so far:  claimant notifies LA on the 29/6/12 that her rent has increased with effect from 2/4/12.  The decision was made on the 31/7/12 whereby the 'beneficial change' was NOT allowed covering the 2/4/12 to the 29/7/12. There was no appeal or a request for a review of that decision.

    On the 25/3/14 we received a request to effectively look at the decision made on the 31/7/12, namely 20 months after that original decision.  However, from 31/7/12 to the 25/3/14, there was a decision made on 23/8/12, another decision made on 21/1/13, the rent increase decision made on the 6/3/13 (for April 13), plus the 'bulk uprating' decision effective from the 1/4/13, then the rent increase decision made on the 27/2/14 (for April 14).

    The claimant has personal difficulties as detailed with a twenty-four page document sent to me.

    On the 11/4/14 I made a decision (in good faith) allowing the rent increase to be finally allowed from the 2/4/12 to the 29/7/12, namely 20 months after the original decision made on the 29/7/12 was made to decline that 'beneficial change' .  I made my decision on the grounds of reasonableness given the claimant's circumstances.

    Have I made a mistake in believing I could make this decision?

    Your help will be much appreciated.

     

    #139913
    nick dearnley
    Participant

    There is a complex interaction of bits of the HB Regs and the Decisions & Appeals Regs to apply here.

    Reg 88 HBR imposes the duty to tell you about any changes that might affect entitlement, and reg 79 covers when it takes effect.  Then the D&A Regs cover what happens when a change is notified late, including when you can allow a longer time.  You also of course have the same D&A Regs putting time limits on applications for revision.

    My view is that the notification of rent increase on 29.6.12 was late, as it took effect from 2.4.12 (but of course the clmt would probably have been told about it before then) and that as it increased entitlement it was beneficial.  Reg 79(2) says that rent increases take effect from the day that they actually occur, subject to D&A reg 8(3).  8(3) says that where the change is advantageous and is notified more than a month after it happened, the date of notification is treated as the date it occurred, making the effective date of the rent increase the date you were told.

    D&A reg 9 then covers late notified changes and (2) says that a longer period can be allowed if the late notification included reasons for the delay and is made within 13 months of the date of change (ie by 2.5.13).  Para (3) says that it also has to be reasonable and there must be 'special circumstances' that prevented timely notification.  If any one of these is missing, the change can only take effect from the date of notification – para (3) says the application "shall not be granted unless…"

    On that basis, assuming the conditions in D&A 9 were not met, the decision on 31.7.12 seems to have been wrong.  You were told about the rent increase on 29.6.12 so it should take effect from then, not 29.7.12 (unless you mistyped the date).

    The decison not to extend the time limit is appealable, but only until 31.8.13 as that is when the 13 month absolute time limit expires.  Each of the subsequent decisions you list have there own right of dispute/appeal of course, but only one month from the date they were made.  The 13 month limit is an extension in itself covered by similar provisions to the late notified change.

    Unfortunately any personal difficulties make no difference once the 13 month limit has expired, becaue reg 9 sets that as the ultimate time by which any dispute/appeal must be received.  The 23.8.12 decision ran out of time on 23.9.13 and the 21.1.13 decison on 21.2.14, so your revision request was out of time on any of those as well.

    Short answer, I don't think you had a power to revise the 31.7.12 decision.  Unless you decided that the original decision was made in ignorance of a material fact or contained an official error, in which case D&A reg 4(1)(b) & (2) allow you to correct it – applying the rent increase from 29.7.12 when you meant 29.6.12 is an official error but I think you'd be limited to correcting just that bit, and that it wouldn't open the 31.7.12 decison up completely, although others may be more generous.

     

    Hope that helps – just realised how much I typed!

    Edited to correct spelling……

     

    #139975
    damo
    Participant

    you could pay a dhp to cover the difference.

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