Close relative away for long periods

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  • #22929
    Nicky
    Participant

    Anyone got any views on this?

    A claimant rents a room in an HMO from his mother – the rest of the house is let to students.

    His mother spends only 6 – 8 weeks of the year at the property (in the summer when she returns to carry out maintenance and find tenants for the following year) and at Christmas for a holiday. The rest of the year is spent in Europe where she works.

    She keeps a room at the property for this purpose – though it is not clear whether this is otherwise let in her absence.

    The claim was refused on close relative grounds (due to the room at the house) and the claimant has now appealed.

    I’ve seen earlier threads where parents were away on holiday for 6 months at a time, etc. which have expanded into non-commerciality. In this case, I am satisfied that the tenancy is commercial as she does let the rest of the house.

    #10209
    dp66
    Participant

    Hi

    Reg 9 clearly states that the customer is not considered liable if [quote:aa3dd9ba84]the agreement is to a person who resides in the dwelling”.[/quote:aa3dd9ba84]
    I would not class this as the mother’s main residence. Does she have another property that she would class as her home? I suspect that if she is abroad for so much of the year she has somewhere else. I would treat her as a visitor to the property as she has no clear intention to remain in the property and comes back in the guise of a commercial landlord.

    I think the close relative decision is harsh but can see where it has come from. Surely the short term nature of her visits counts for something.
    But then thats just an opinion.

    Debbie P

    #10210
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Sorry Debbie, I disagree.

    This is the Mothers home, she is just away working for long periods. I know there is some case law (admittedly some of it regarding Council Tax) that says the fact that a person is working away from home doesn’t make their place of employment their main residence.

    Unless my memory is failing (quite possible 😀 ) the cases included a man who worked on oil-rigs trying to state the rig was his home when he was working there and a squaddie saying his barracks were his home when he was on active service so his wife should get an single persons discount.

    #10211
    dp66
    Participant

    Hi

    It can only be classed as her home if she does not have another one surely. The cases you quote refer to are people who live in accommodation provided by their work, they therefore need to maintain a home elsewhere. As I said in my post the important thing to qualify is does she have a main home elsewhere. If she does not and flits about working round the world (I can but dream) then I agree that you would need to treat the property in England as her home.

    Debbie P

    #10212
    Anonymous
    Guest

    The cases you refer to are Doncaster BC v Stark 1998(the squaddie) and a case under the old poll tax case Bradford MBC v Anderton

    In Anderton it was held that a mechant seaman could not have his residence on the ship and that his home was to be considered his usual abode. In Stark it was held that his cente of interest was the home he had set up witih his wife.

    Both those cases have been superseded by a Court of Appeal decision Williaims v Horsham District Council where it was hld that the situaion has to be looked at in the round, and all relevant factors had to be taken into account before coming to a reasoned essentially common sence decision about where a persons sole or main residence was.

    Williams was followed in Parry v Derbyshire Dales Distict Council 5 May 2006. Mr Parry lived in Spain for 2 years (possibly intending to return) and his house in Derbyshire was tenanted for some but not all of that period. The Council and the VT held that the derbyshire home was his main residence during period when it was not tenanted, but the Court held otherwise.

    I dont think the poll tax and council tax cases are very heplful in the context of whther or not a close relative to whom the claimant has a liability to pay rent also resides in the dwelling, I think you need to go Reg 3(4) in order to begin to decide the issue.

    I would think that given the limited time the landlady spends in the building, she cannot be considered to be sharing the accommodation, or even crucial parts of it such as the kitchen.. The tenants have virtually exclusive use of it.

    Even if the landlady did share say the kitchen at times, the extent of that sharing would still not be sufficient to hold that she resided in the same dwelling as the claimant given the defintiion of “dwelling “in S137 of the SSCBA whcih does not require a dwelling to consist of the whole or part of a building, nor that it comprise separate and self contained premises.

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