County Council Gypsy and Traveller caravan site

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    Currently we have a problem with a site in our area caused by the shortfall between the Rent Officer decision and the liability being charged by the County Council.

    I have been advised that the Authority should not refer these cases to the Rent Officer where the claimant receives care, support or supervision.

    A lot of the site residents do now receive assistance from an agent of Supporting People.

    It was suggested that the required legislation is Housing Benefit (General) Amendment Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/1644) reg 10(6)(ii), but when I have looked online I could not find regulation 10 (6)!

    I am not too familiar with this area of legislation, and would be grateful if somebody could point me in the right direction to the legislation or let me have their opinion on this matter

    Thank you

    Kevin D

    Claims falling within the “exempt accommodation” exception must be dealt with under “old” HBRs 10 & 11 (i.e. as they stood on 1 Jan 1996). However, unless the L/L is a REGISTERED HA (i.e. registered with the Housing Corporation), the rent will normally have to be referred. Problem is, you may not be able to restrict. The ROD only really matters for subsidy purposes.

    [b:11dccdc0c2]HB[u:11dccdc0c2]A[/u:11dccdc0c2]R 10(6)[/b:11dccdc0c2] [extract]

    [quote:11dccdc0c2]”exempt accommodation” means accommodation which is:

    i) [not reproduced – not relevant]

    ii) provided by a non-metropolitan county council in England within the meaning of section 1 of the Local Government Act 1972, a housing association, a registered charity or voluntary organisation where that body or a person acting on its behalf also provides the claimant with care, support or supervision”.[/quote:11dccdc0c2]

    The definitions for “housing association” & “voluntary organisation” are contained in [b:11dccdc0c2]HBR 2[/b:11dccdc0c2].

    So the questions, in order, are:

    [b:11dccdc0c2]1) Who provides the accommodation?[/b:11dccdc0c2]

    If not a housing association, nor a charity, nor a voluntary organisation, nor a non-metropolitan county council, then the claims do not fall within the “exempt accommodation” exception and there is no need to consider the remaining questions.

    If the L/L DOES fall within one of the above categories, the next question is:

    [b:11dccdc0c2]2) Is care, support or supervision provided to the clmt?[/b:11dccdc0c2]

    In this case, yes. So, next question…

    [b:11dccdc0c2]3) Is the care, support or supervision provided by the L/L, [u:11dccdc0c2]or[/u:11dccdc0c2] by a person [u:11dccdc0c2]on behalf of the L/L[/u:11dccdc0c2]?[/b:11dccdc0c2]

    If the answer to this is “no”, the claims do not fall within the “exempt accommodation” exception. If the answer is yes to then it is “exempt accommodation” and the ROD only matters for subsidy purposes.

    For “exempt accommodation”, the rent can only be restricted under “old” HBR 11 if the LA can show that the rent is “unreasonably high” by comparison with suitable alternative accommodation available (to the clmt) elsewhere [massively oversimplified!!]. It is this provision that normally makes it very difficult for LAs to restrict rent levels.

    If the “exempt accommodation” does not apply, then the current R/O rules apply (i.e. “Maximum Rent” etc) and you restrict as normal.

    If you have a situation where the rents are very high and there appears to be no justification for the level of rent, other than profiteering by the L/L, or related parties, you *may* be able to consider whether the liabilities have been created to take advantage of the HB scheme (i.e. contrived”) But, if you are tempted to take the contrived route, you’ll need to be prepared to undertake a shed load of background work.

    Feel free to pm me if you would like more info. I’ll be happy to pass on any relevant info that may be useful.



    The advice you’ve received is (sort of) correct – provided that the County Council or someone acting on their behalf is proving the care. support or supervision these should be treated as ‘old scheme’ cases.

    The legislation you have been referred to should say 1995, not 1996. These reguations were in fact revoked as part of the consolidation exercise and you’ll now find the same rules in SI2006/217 Sch 3 para 4.

    The essence of this is that you’re dealing with “exempt accomodation”. So the eligible rent is simply the actual liability being charged minus any ineligible service charges – unless you are restricting because the rent is unreasonably high or the property unreasonably large (which seems unlikely for a site pitch!).

    You should still refer these cases to the Rent Officer – but this has a subsidy implication only – the eligible rent is not based on the Rent Officer decision.


    I see Kevin beat me to it (and I was assuming that the County Council referred to is non-metropolitan).


    Thanks for your reply, very grateful in navigating around this minefield!

    The care is provided through an agency who work on behalf of the county council (who are also the landlords) and claim it back through County’s Supporting People.

    It would appear from reading your post that the accommodation does fall as exempt as it is a non metropolital Authority, and by virtue of different departments does provide support and supervision.

    Would you agree with that (as the support is merely claimed back from County) and if so am I right in thinking that we MUST treat these cases as “old” reg 11 cases, in which case we will have to exceed (as there are no other sites in our area) and just claim the 60% subsidy?

    Thanks for your help


    Yep – that sounds right to me.


    Thanks very much, greatly appreciated!

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