Dwelling normally occupied as his home

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    I would be interested in your opinions on the following scenario.

    80 year old severely disabled lady took up a council tenancy (bungalow) in December 2004. Following a referral from our housing department the following information has been obtained.

    Lady sleeps every night at her daughters house. Daughter gives her some meals. Daughter also does her washing. Claimant contributes to daughters household expenses. However, because claimant can’t manage the stairs, she goes back to the bungalow each day to bathe.

    The intention of the daughter is to convert the downstairs accommodation so that the claimant can live there permanently, and give notice on the council bungalow.

    I have a copy of the Pension Credit award letter on file which is addressed to the claimant at the daughters address.

    When the application form was completed, this was done by a visiting officer at the daughters address, not the bungalow.

    When our investigation officer went to the bungalow to see the claimant, his comments were that the property did not have a lived in appearance as the kitched worktops were bare, there were no items in the lounge such as reading material. He also has statements to say that during a six week period, no rubbish had been put out for collection at the bungalow.

    I have no idea at the moment where her personal belongings are located.

    We have terminated the case because the decision has been made (by my boss) that she does not normally occupy the bungalow as her home. Now I have an appeal.

    I have found one case that I can use (CH/2521/2002). Is there any others?

    Any opinions, views, or anything that you wish to write will all be gratefully received.



    There are some [i:8158de03ae]obiter[/i:8158de03ae] comments in the much cited R v Penwith ex parte Burt case…

    [quote:8158de03ae]In my judgment, if, in a case such as this, the authority wish to terminate the occupier’s eligibility for housing benefit on the footing that he or she is essentially absent from the dwelling in question, then, where there has not been a literally continuous period of absence for 52 weeks (or, I would add parenthetically, a shorter period if requirement 5(8) benot satisfied) they can only do so by operation of regulation 5(1), i.e. on the basis that the claimant does not normally occupy that dwelling as his or her home and that his or her absences are accordingly not in any real sense temporary. It is regulation 5(1) that enshrines the governing principle, namely, that a person is to be treated as satisfying the requirement of occupation only in respect of a dwelling “normally occupied as his home”.It is always open to an authority to consider as a question of fact and degree whether a dwelling isindeed occupied as a claimant’s home and whether absences are in fact properly regarded for regulation 5(8) purposes as temporary only. It may very well be that, had the respondent board approached the appeal upon that footing, they would have been entitled to conclude, and on the facts would have concluded, that no. 5 is no longer normally occupied by this applicant as her home. But that is not the approach that they in fact brought to bear upon her case. [/quote:8158de03ae]

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