Change of ownership – and potential overpayment HB

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  • #23397
    Paul Duggan
    Participant

    Hello All,

    Just wanted to canvass some opinion on this scenario, as I think I’m getting my wires crossed somewhere along the line.

    With regard to change of ownership/or managing agent of a property, where HB has been paid to the landlord/agent.
    If landlord/agent(2) has taken over the property on date A, however we only find out on date B of this change of ownership, HB for the period date A to date B, having been paid to landlord/agent 1.

    My question is – do you raise an overpayment for the period date A to date B, recoverable from landlord/agent 1, and [u:1e47fc8476]also[/u:1e47fc8476] pay this period of HB to the new landlord/agent 2

    Or just change the payee on the claim to landlord/agent 2 from date B, due to the delay in informing us of change of ownership, that we had not previously been aware of.

    I think the answer to this question might vary dependant on whether the payment was issued to the landlord or a managing agent, but I would be very interested in your comments.

    #12346
    Kevin D
    Participant

    So long as the clmt is/was entitled to the HB in question, irrespective of who is was physically paid to, there can be no overpayment. Therefore, the issue of overpayment does not arise in the context of HB.

    Your only options are to make a polite request under general civil law.

    Regards

    #12347
    Paul Duggan
    Participant

    Thanks for the reply Kevin,

    The benefits team at my LA maintain that they should create an overpayment, as they feel landlord/agent 1, were not entitled to receive payment of HB after the date that they ceased to own/manage it.

    My feeling is the same as your own, we should just change the payee to landlord/agent 2 from date B when we are informed.

    My LA seem to be maintaining their stance on this, and as part of an HB O/P recovery team I am left with these cases to recover, could you perhaps elaborate on your point of view, in particular any legislation I can point to to demonstrate this in incorrect?

    Many thanks, and any contributions from other users would be greatly appreciated! 😮

    #12348
    Darren W
    Participant

    Paul have a look at Regulation 99. It states that an overpayment means any amount which has been paid by the way of housing benefit and to which there was no entitlement under these regulations……

    Since in this case the claimant was entitled to the money, there can be no overpayment.

    #12349
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I’m not sure what the answer is here.

    The whole thrust of the April 06 amendments to the overpayment Regs where changes of address are concerned is that the DWP takes the view that HB paid for the wrong address is an overpayment, while the claimant might at the same time have been underpaid for the new home – they see each address as a self-contained item of entitlement.

    I know this is not exactly the same situation as a change of address, but there are similarities: benefit has been paid to someone who had no continuing status in the claimant’s HB claim.

    As I see it there are three options. The money paid to Landlord 1 is:

    (a) proper payment of the claimant’s HB, if the claimant wanted it paid to someone else well hard lines they should have said so. You cannot pay them again for this period, they have already been paid. Or
    (b) an overpayment of HB to landlord 1, entirely without prejudice to the claimant’s right to receive HB again (or have it paid to landlord 2) for the same period. Or
    (c) something else – an unfortunate payment of money outside the HB rules, since there was no longer any provision for that person to receive HB on the claimant’s behalf. Proper HB remains to be paid for this period.

    DWP policy leans heavily towards option (b). I think that is probably the fairest and easiest to administer – it leaves open the possibility of Landlord 1 relying on Reg 100 and/or Reg 101(2) to escape recovery in cases where those Regs might apply. And the expenditure is still accounted for as HB.

    #12350
    Kevin D
    Participant

    My response is as Darren’s. [b:8d78a861b2]HBR 99(1)[/b:8d78a861b2], in full, states:

    [quote:8d78a861b2]In this Part, “overpayment” means any amount which has been paid by way of housing benefit and [b:8d78a861b2]to which there was no entitlement[/b:8d78a861b2] under these Regulations (whether on the initial decision or as subsequently revised or superseded or further revised or superseded) and includes any amount paid on account under regulation 93 (payment on account of a rent allowance) which is in excess of the entitlement to housing benefit as subsequently decided.[/quote:8d78a861b2]

    Link to the reg is:
    new.hbinfo.org.com/menu2/hbregs06/099_06.shtml

    In anticipation of an argument that the [b:8d78a861b2]landlord[/b:8d78a861b2] is not entitled, that is palpable nonsense. Only a [b:8d78a861b2]claimant[/b:8d78a861b2] can have entitlement.

    Hope this helps.

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