delay in moving in

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  • #23328
    tracycox
    Participant

    We have a pensioner who took the tenancy of a property in June 2006, she applied for Housing Benefit as she intended to move in at this time. However she did not move in as was waiting for pension credit to be assessed which took longer than she thought due to errors and stayed in hospital during this time. Once she had received her pension credit she applied for a social fund loan. She then moved into the property following receipt of the social fund loan in november 2006 and she made a fresh claim for housing benefit. We are aware that we can pay back four weeks due to the social fund loan but are we able to pay from the start of the tenancy under the backdating for a pensioner from when they are liable for rent (Hb 60+ 64(1))

    #11999
    Mark
    Participant

    On the face of it, you won’t be able to pay for a date earlier than 4 weeks prior to occupancy. The only possibility is that “occupancy” can be construed in the way that CH/2957/2004 (reported as R(H)9/05) does. In that case a claimant in hospital was treated as occupying the property even though they had not physically been there because they had moved their belongings in and had nowhere else that could be considered their normal home.

    #12000
    Kevin D
    Participant

    [Edit: compiled as Mark posted]

    There are two separate issues.

    One is the date of claim; the other is occupancy.

    HBR(SPC) 64(1) applies to all 60+ claims – it is mandatory, not discretionary. But, this assumes there is occupancy.

    So, the next step is occupancy. In [b:c40cd862fb]R(H) 09/05[/b:c40cd862fb], a clmt was in hospital, liability started, she moved in on a later date. The Cmmr found that she “occupied” the dwelling on the basis that her furniture had been moved in. So, in your case, it all depends on whether there has been any tangible form of occupancy. If not, then there is no HB until the Monday following the date of occupancy.

    R(H) 09/05 is @: new.hbinfo.org.com/comdecs/ch_2957_2004.doc

    Regards

    #12001
    tracycox
    Participant

    Only a settee was moved in at the start of the tenancy the rest of the furniture was not moved in until she moved in. The main delay for her moving in was due to her waiting for the pension credit to be sorted out before she could apply for the social fund loan

    #12002
    Mark
    Participant

    Beyond the 4 weeks you have already decided to pay for, I don’t think the reason for the delayed move matters that much (she was after all in hospital). I also wouldn’t put too much emphasis on the rest of the furniture – especially if she didn’t even own it until the Social Fund coughed up.

    If she had belongings other than the settee (clothes, crockery, etc) the question is – did she move these in too? If so, then it is very likely that the CD we’re talking about is comparable. But if she stored stuff like that elsewhere, or if she had another place other than hospital that could be called home, then I’d say occupancy probably didn’t start till she physically moved in.

    #12003
    tracycox
    Participant

    Previously she lived in a derelict caravan that had no electricity or water – so she didn’t really have any other furniture or personal effects – her personal belongings i assume would be in the hospital with her.

    #12004
    Mark
    Participant

    I’ve just given R(H)09/05 a re-read and having done so there are a couple of things I should point out:

    1) The Commissioner says that it was the moving in of furniture (not other personal effects) that led him to see the claimant as occupying the dwelling as the normal home.

    2) The Commissioner was concerned with the reasons why the claimant was absent. Indeed, he suggested that if the reason for absence was something other than being in hospital, he may have reached a different conclusion.

    Quite what this means for your claimant I’ll have to leave you (or someone else here) to work out. I can’t tell from what you’ve said how long they were in hospital for, whether their medical treatment actually prevented them from going home, etc. But those are the sort of things I reckon you need to establish. I wonder too whether they might have moved the settee in themselves and then gone to hospital soon afterwards – if so then it’s a clear case of awarding HB from the outset.

    #12005
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Claimant is in homeless accommodation and gets offered an RSL flat which she accepts with a tenancy start of 24/7/06 – she was on IS and getting HB already at her homeless address
    Unfortunately the claimant had a prearranged holiday booked and went abroad on 24/7/06 for several weeks
    Assuming she had somehow moved her belongings in, say on Sunday 23/7/06, can she be treated as occupying the new home? does this question even arise?

    dave

    #12006
    Mark
    Participant

    That’s a tough one Dave. In R(H)9/05 there were 2 hurdles to be jumped. Firstly, there had to be a way of saying the property was occupied as the normal home. Secondly, there had to be a way of saying the claimant had an “intention to return” to a property they had never been to. The Commissioner did both these things, but it does rather look like they sympathised so much with the claimant that this was the effect they were trying to achieve.

    Although R(H)9/05 was a hospital case, I think it is possible to apply the same principles to other reasons for physically moving in late. But it’s not at all clear how far you could go with this. I would say though that some of the wording in paras 10 and 21 does indicate that it would be hard (though not impossible) to apply the decsion to absences related to non ill-health reasons.

    The DWP don’t seem to be sure how far this could go either. The Guidance Manual has been updated with details of the decision and it doesn’t attempt to claim it’s an “in hospital only” issue. But both the examples they give are hospital ones.

    #12007
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I agree we are still feeling our way a bit in the aftermath of R(H)9/05.

    In Dave’s case, I think it would be a big help if she had vacated the temporary accommodation, because that would reduce the number of candidates for the normal home to one. Is that how it happened?

    #12008
    leedon
    Participant

    Futher to this, I have a situation that is very similar to that in R(H)0/05 except that the claimant has subsequently been forced, for medical reasons, to move permanently into a nursing home before ever setting foot into the property.

    The claimant had given notice at their old address, family had moved all belonging to the new property and the claimant (who is 93) had every intention of occupying the new property as his main address, but due to his deteriorating health he could not move in himself and subsequently conceeded that he could no longer live independantly and moved permanently to a nursing home 2 weeks after the start of the tenancy.

    The CD would seem to suggest we treat him as resident until the intention to ‘return’ ended, but then we have the difference that in the CD case the property was eventually occupied ‘normally’.

    Furthermore, if we take it as given that the claimant is occupying the property, how would we handle the overlap of benefit for the end of his old tenancy. Would they get the full 4 weeks? What about notice needed on the new tenancy after going to the nursing home? Another 4 weeks? Only 4 weeks in total? 2 Weeks for each property?

    Any ideas/ comments folks?

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