Getting an extra room

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    Claimant renting 1 room in a HMO since 2007. She has a baby and agrees with the LL to rent an extra room from today.

    Question – is this a change where LHA kicks in? My initial reaction was “No” as she isn’t moving herself, just the baby.

    However I can see the other side as well! It could be argused that she IS moving as she has to, understandably, follow the baby who is “moving”.

    Any ideas?


    I think it counts as a change of dwelling, in that the dwelling to which the claim now relates is not coterminous with the dwelling as it was before.


    [quote:0b235d3239]coterminous [/quote:0b235d3239]

    Thanks Peter, I am going to have that as my word of the day for the next training I deliver!

    Incidentally, I agree about the ‘change of dwelling’ bit as well. 😉


    If she hasn’t moved room herself, I don’t think she would fall under LHA rules. Having an extra room from her daughter would not put her on LHA. The same point could arise if there was a room in the house and a nondep suddenly appeared. This wouldn’t be an LHA claim.

    However, if she is clever or advised accordingly..she could say her daughter is moving in her original bedroom, and she is moving in the new room.

    But then…maybe I got this wrong completely. 😕


    Exactly Asha, this is why i’m confused 😳

    Peter, I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that I find there are good arguments for both sides.

    Julian Hobson

    [i:8fb0351a95]s137(1) SSCBA 1992

    “dwelling” means any residential accommodation, whether or not consisting of the whole or part of a building and whether or not comprising separate and self-contained premises;[/i:8fb0351a95]

    First question is whether the “dwelling” remains the same if you take the extra room. I don’t think it does, I agree with Peter the new dwelling is a different animal and would (but for LHA) require a new referral to the RO. The new dwelling has a different boundary, footprint, amenities etc

    [i:8fb0351a95]HB Regs 2006

    Reg 2

    “change of dwelling” means, for the purposes of regulations 13C and 14, a change of dwelling occupied by a claimant as his home during the award where the dwelling to which the claimant has moved is one in respect of which the authority may make a rent allowance;[/i:8fb0351a95]

    So is it a change of dwelling? Even though the definition includes “moved” I wouldn’t get too hung up on it. The claimant has clearly moved into the second room even if they don’t sleep in it.

    I’m with Peter its LHA.


    The term in reg 13C, both for determining a new Max Rent (LHA) or moving a claim onto LHA from LRR rules, is that there has been a ‘change of dwelling’. A ‘move’ is not required.

    A definition for ‘change of dwelling’ is inserted into reg 2 that just requires a change to the dwelling occupied by the claimant as his home.

    If the claimant previously had a licence to occupy one room, that room was their dwelling. As soon as they vary that licence to include an additional room their dwelling has changed, so surely a ‘change of dwelling’? That long word of Peter’s basically meaning that if you drew an outline of the dwelling before the change and after the change you wouldn’t be able to line them up without an overlap.

    I don’t see it being relevant whether it is the claimant or the child that physically sleeps in the additional room. The claimant is the one with the liability for an increased dwelling and can divvy the space up as she sees fit.

    Or at least thats how I look at it. Peter? 🙂



    Before considering HB regulations in the 12 and 13 series you first have to consider what dwelling the customer occupies, HB regulation 7.

    The claimant is in an HMO and her dwelling is one of the rooms in the HMO building. She seems to have agreed to take on another of the rooms for her baby, which up to now has been another dwelling in the same building. It is logical to conclude that she now has two dwellings as her family is now too big for only one dwelling. The LA would then be bound to consider HB regulation 7(6). If that is accepted there isn’t a change in dwelling as she hasn’t moved.

    If she can not be accepted as occupying two dwellings then she can only be treated as occupying one of the dwellings. If she opts to carry on using the same room as her dwelling there is no change of dwelling. If the two dwellings are physically converted to one then that also is not a change of dwelling as she hasn’t moved.

    What works for a couple of houses works for HMO rooms as they are both dwellings for HB purposes.

    I hope that this helps


    😕 Hmm….any comments


    I think the LHA advice line is applying a far too rigid interpretation of the term “dwelling”. Just because rooms in an HMO have been let separately as individual dwellings in the past it doesn’t mean that two of those rooms cannot subsequently be used as a single dwelling. It seems pretty obvious to me that two rooms in a house being used by the same family are a single dwelling for all practical purposes. It’s not as if they have to exit onto the street and then enter an entirely separate self-contained dwelling – an HMO is more internally flexible than that. See also the JSA case of Miah – slightly different issues there but I think the general principle that two units can be occupied as a single dwelling is supported by that case:


    The enlargement of the dwelling to encompass a second room still, in my view, amounts to a “change” of dwelling – the dwelling to which the claim relates is no longer the same as the dwelling to which it previously related. The claimant must have moved into the enlarged dwelling – the child cannot look after itself independently, the whole family is now living in both rooms.

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