Eligble Rent

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    Trevor Kenward

    Good Morning,
    any advice/comments on this case would be more than welcome as an appeal is pending.
    Claimant has been in property and claiming HB since 1997 and been on Incapacity Benefit (prev Invalidity etc) throughout . Due to the rent service valuations and the tapered figure he has always had a shortfall of some kind to pay.
    On evidence of his rent records for the last 9 years no shortfall of rent (top-up) has ever been paid by him. The only entries for rent have been the HB payments made to his landlord although the arrears due to the shortfall have been recorded (curently over £8,500)
    We have now referred the eligible rent as being the lastest HB award and not the stated rent charged and this has reduced the benefit again prompting the appeal by the claimant ( instigated by the LL)
    Does anyone know of any Commisisioners decisions on such a point.


    I can’t point you in the direction of any CDs on this point, but I do remember receiving some forceful advice on this, whether from a legal department or the (then) DSS I don’t recall.

    In essence, you shouldn’t do what you have done.

    It is not uncommon for landlords to accept the HB that is paid rather than the full rent. However, this does not alter the fact that the landlord is entitled to receive the full contractual rent – he could, at any moment, turn around and demand all the arrears, and take eviction proceedings if this is not forthcoming. So you should always refer the full contractual rent.


    I agree fully with Andy.

    Julian Hobson

    Had a squint at some Cd’s check out:

    https://hbinfo.org/menu2/comdecs/ch_1076_2002.shtml? para 18 and in particular the point that a L/L’s waiver of the shortfall can’t call into question the commerciality but could be a change to the contractual rent (but I suggest reading it all).

    You might also look at CH 2694/2005 which refers to 1076/2002 and looks at a slightly different point.

    I’d be interested to know the outcome if this goes to Tribunal/ Commissioner


    I know this practice is not uncommon but I also fail to see the justification.
    You are presumably arguing that the contract between the landlord and tenant has changed due to custom and practice i.e. that the higher rent as specified on the contract is no longer enforceable and perhaps also that the landlord is now estopped from recovering any rent arrears. It might be possible to argue this in the Courts and if the tenant had successfully done so, you would be correct in my view to adjust the HB. But the tenant has apparently not done so and again in my view, you have no case whatsoever.

    For instance, how about RSL’s / LA’s write off arrears in both theit temp or basic accommodation? Would you apply the same policy to them? I fail to see any real difference.

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