Joint Tenants, Non-Deps and Single Room Rate

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  • #34022
    Anonymous
    Guest

    The LHA Issues Log says

    [quote:8f407a0574]In HBINFO’s view, JTs do satisfy the description set out in Reg 13D(b)(ii) (exclusive use of one bedroom, kitchen and bathroom). “Exclusive” is a term of art in housing law and it is applied jointly to JTs. It means exclusive of the world outside the front door, and in particular exclusive of the landlord.[/quote:8f407a0574]

    The guidance gives the example of Bob and Alice

    [quote:8f407a0574]
    Bob will be entitled to the two-bedroom rate LHA that is then reduced by 100% of the non-dependant deduction [i:8f407a0574]HB Reg 13D(3), HB Reg 74(1)[/i:8f407a0574]

    Alice (a single person living in shared accommodation) is entitled to the shared rate LHA (Category A). [i:8f407a0574]HB Reg 13D(2)(a)[/i:8f407a0574] [/quote:8f407a0574]

    These seem to contradict each other. And I can’t find a HB Reg 13D in the regs, never mind the (2)(a) or (b)(ii).

    Can someone point me to the right place? Only I’m reading it that, in the example quoted, Bob would get the two room LHA and Alice the one room LHA, according to the incident log. Whereas the manual says she’ll only get the single room.

    #94898
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Reg 13D is inserted into the regs by the The Housing Benefit (Local Housing Allowance and Information Sharing) Amendment Regulations 2007, which are here:

    https://hbinfo.org/menu4/lha/si_2868_2007.htm#n4

    I’m struggling to understand the issues around the “exclusive” use of a room.

    In relation to tenancies, exclusive possession of the premises or part of the premises is the right of the tenant (or joint tenants) to exercise control over the premises and exclude others.

    A sole tenant in a shared house will have exclusive possession of a room, and access to the shared parts. Joint tenants of a shared house will together have exclusive possession of the whole property, but all parts will be shared in the sense that all tenants will have equal rights to access all rooms in the property.

    So if exclusive refers to those parts of the property that the claimant has to themselves alone, a joint tenant doesnt have exclusive use of any part of the property. But if it refers to those parts that they have ‘exclusive possession’ over, it will mean the whole of the property.

    I’m beginning to think exclusive makes more sense to mean any parts the claimant actually has to themselves, rather than any parts they have exclusive possession over. That would mean for a joint tenant that the question was how many rooms in fact they used for themselves alone.

    This is all making my head hurt!

    #94899
    Anonymous
    Guest

    To me, joint tenants have the whole property between them, to do with as they please – and both names on the tenancy.

    For Single Room Rate to apply, they would have one bedroom, shared facilities, and each have separate tenancies for the room they occupy. So, a HMO in fact.

    If a Joint Tenant has a Non-Dep, then they would still be JT, but one is allowed two rooms and 100% Non-Dep deduction. The other is still a joint tenant, so is charged rent for 50% of the whole property.

    So two joint tenants have a one bedroom need each. A joint tenant with a non-dep has a two room need, and the other joint tenant still has a one bedroom need.

    Now I’m starting to feel giddy.

    It makes sense in my head.

    And now I’ve had the thought about a two bed property, with two joint tenants, where a non-dep moves in….. 😯 :15:

    #94900
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I think that does make sense. It also fits in with the definition of shared accommodation for the rent officer, which is clearer than the one in reg13D:
    “a dwelling where the tenant has the exclusive use of only one bedroom and where the tenancy provides for him to share the use of one or more
    of— (i) a kitchen; (ii) a bathroom; (iii) a toilet; or (iv) a room suitable for living in”.
    This seems to me to be much more clearly describing a sole tenancy (HMO) type situation, not a joint tenancy.

    #94901
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    So lets throw in the question what happens if two joint-tenants share a property with four rooms?

    #94902
    Anonymous
    Guest

    If two joint tenants share a dwelling with four rooms suitable for living in, and presumably have use of two rooms each, the situation is unchanged is it not?

    One view would be that the tenants have exclusive use of two rooms (and hence the one bed, self – contained rate is appropriate) under Regulation 13D (2)(b)(i), whereas the DWP view of “joint tenants live in shared accommodation in all cases” would say they don’t have exclusive use under the same reg. and the shared rate would apply.

    #94903
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Two joint tenants sharing four rooms still only need one bedroom each.

    Two joint tenants and a Non-Dep sharing two bedrooms surely needs investigating? Isn’t there something strange about shared beds in such situations?

    #94904
    yardleys
    Participant

    We are stil not clear on how to treat joint tenancies in self contained accommodation and only being elgible for the shared room rate still seems unjust and illogical.
    I have tried to research this and would love to go with the HBINFO view of reg 13D (b) and looked at the info on other authorities sites but people seem to be avoiding providing info on this issue – do other people still feel like this is a grey area – bearing in mind we should be maximising peoples benefit.

    #94905
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I think this example is particularly weak (not the only one). To my way of thinking a JT has exclusive use of the whole house (albeit jointly). If they only had one room and shared the rest of the house they would not be joint tenants, they would have their own individual agreement for one room (an HMO in other words). No JT should be getting the shared room rate of LHA. You need to look at the tenancy agreement to see exactly what the tenant “holds”

    (The DWP have no idea about tenancy issues, they major on income and capital only, but to be fair I don’t think they produced the training brief. They have “borrowed” it to disseminate information. Be honest, when did you ever get any training from DWP?)

    #94906
    yardleys
    Participant

    I totally agree that JT’s do satisfy the exclusive criteria where they hold a joint tenancy. What I am having trouble in doing is wiritng the working practice and indeed putting forward this argument with the help of regulations or formal interpretation of regulations.
    I am presuming that Chichester has adopted this stance in thier working practices?

    #94907
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    One of the issues is that JT’s do not feature in the regs; its all about sharing facilities. So a person who has their own contract may still be entitled to the shared rate (if you follow DWP guidance) and a jt with en-suite facilities is entitled to the full one bedroom rate.

    #48686
    yardleys
    Participant

    So legally speaking a joint tenant in the sense of a ‘joint tenancy’ and a joint contractual rent agreement does not have shared facilities outside that rental agreement – which is the clear separation from a person in a HIMO. So unless there is a legal argument otherwise I would like to treat a joint tenant with a joint tenancy agreement as not fitting into the ‘shared room rate’ criteria. I need to know how District audit could argue against that decision.

    #94908
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I queried this with the Adelphi, and got the clear answer back – Joint Tenants are each entitled to the Shared Room Rate. Joint Tenants with a ‘shared’ Non-Dep each get the two-bed rate, and Tenant A with a Non-Dep and Tenant B without would mean A gets two bed rate and B gets the Shared Room Rate.

    A couple who are a Joint Tenant in a property also get the Shared Room Rate.

    #94909
    edwardst
    Participant

    This is the impression I have got that the Adelphi are very much insistent that JTs each get a shared room rate. Some other people think they should each get the 1 room rate.

    However, under the current HB scheme where there are 2 JTs in a flat, the whole flat & total rent is referred to the RO, the LRR/CRR is then split between the 2 JTs, apportioned as per there rent liability.

    IE. 2 JTs in a 2 bed flat, total rent 500.00/cm, RO determination comes back with CRR of 480.00/cm, this means each tenant’s max eligible rent is 240.00/cm (provided they paid 50% of total rent each).

    They are not each restricted to SRR (providing they are over 25) so why, under LHA, should JTs be eligible for Shared room rate as opposed to the whole prop being eligible for the 2 room rate & then this split between the JTs?

    This would probably mean they each get less than the shared room rate (if our indicative LHA rates are anything to go by) however as that was the procedure under current HB why is it different under LHA?

    And, can someone please tell me where I can see in black & white in regs or anything else (apart from one person’s view from the Adelphi) that it says JTs are entitled to the Shared room rate (or the 1 room rate for that matter).

    #94910
    Anonymous
    Guest

    [quote:7b6be79b8f]

    [quote:7b6be79b8f]Quote:

    Bob will be entitled to the two-bedroom rate LHA that is then reduced by 100% of the non-dependant deduction HB Reg 13D(3), HB Reg 74(1)

    Alice (a single person living in shared accommodation) is entitled to the shared rate LHA (Category A). HB Reg 13D(2)(a) [/quote:7b6be79b8f]

    These seem to contradict each other. And I can’t find a HB Reg 13D in the regs, never mind the (2)(a) or (b)(ii). [/quote:7b6be79b8f]

    Which is all I could find, which is where I started.

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