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    Claimant claims HB at a property confirming that landlord is Mr X. The local authoirty later establish that Mr X is the father of one of the claimant’s children. Claim is terminated and the claimant appeals.

    In the appeal letter it transpires that Mr X sublet (outside the terms of the tenancy agreement) the property to the claimant and they had an agreement with the true landlord. Claimant received the payments of HB and then Mr X then passed these payments to the true landlord.

    My only concern here is that looking at the definition of landlord in the dictionary it states:

    “a man who owns and leases property”.

    Whilst Mr X did impose a rental liability and lease the property to the claimant he did not own it. Does anybody have any case law or ideas how I counter argue the fact that the true landlord was not Mr X?

    Kevin D

    Just to clarify – did your clmt have an agreement with the “true landlord”; or was the clmt’s agreement just with the father of the child?


    Mr X had the tenancy agreement with the true landlord. The claimant had a verbal agreement with Mr X (she had no involvement with the true landlord they were unaware of her residence) and supplied proof of her rent books.

    Trevor Kenward

    For what its worth I had what appears to be a very similar case that went to Tribunal a couple of years back. We had refused HB on basis on that ‘person to whom rent payments were made’ was the father of the claimants child. However the claimant then made a formal agreement to pay rent to the owner and not her non-resident ex-partner who formerly
    was the sole tenant.
    The Chair’s view that when payments were made to the ex-partner , which he was forwarding on to the owner, that he was merely acting as an agent and that therefore the claimants liability was not to him but to the owner.


    I have submitted this appeal to the tribunals service. However the saga continues, the claimant has now taken the tenancy agreement out in her own name and Mr X the previous landlord (who sublet from the true landlord) has moved in as a non-dependant.

    This appears to be contrived however, my understanding is that the contrivance has to be between the landlord and the claimant. Well in this case the landlord is commercial and has not conducted the change in the tenancy to obtain HB.

    Is there anything we could look at with regards to the fact that Mr X was the person with the original tenancy agreement, but not resident and then returns and because the claimant could not get HB under the old agreement has now changed the tenancy agreement into her name. Naturally we will look at living together but I am not sure if there is something under Reg 9.

    Opinions would be gratefully received.

    Kevin D

    [quote:847e421dc7]”….contrivance has to be between the landlord and the claimant. “[/quote:847e421dc7]

    I don’t think the above is necessarily true. Although it would be unusual to look beyond the tenant and landlord, the test is exactly as stated in the regulation. HBR 9(1)(l) states:

    (1) A person who is liable to make payments in respect of a dwelling shall be treated as if he were not so liable where –

    (l) in a case to which the preceding sub-paragraphs do not apply, the appropriate authority is satisfied that [b:847e421dc7]the liability was created to take advantage of the housing benefit scheme[/b:847e421dc7] established under Part 7 of the Act.

    The provision is not limited to any particular party, or group of parties. In my view, it doesn’t matter who creates the liability, or what role is played by any individual (although those matters will clearly play a part in terms of the whole picture). The test is simply whether the [b:847e421dc7]liability[/b:847e421dc7] has been created to take advantage etc.

    If the liability has been created to take advantage of the HB scheme, however and/or by whomever, it results in nil HB.

    Of limited relevance is [b:847e421dc7]Baragrove[/b:847e421dc7]. In that case, the tenants were entirely blameless. It was the L/L who was “guilty”. But, even if it is a third party who has manipulated a tenant and/or a landlord, my view is that it is still possible to fall foul of HBR 9(1)(l) – although it would be highly unusual.

    In any case, based on your last post, there appears to be at least a suspicion of possible collusion between any and/or all of the parties (including the non-dep!). If that is so, HBR 9(1)(l) could still be engaged – but it will depend on the evidence.

    Other potential considerations are whether the “new” agreements, in part or in whole, are merely devices, or even a “sham”. In CH/1171/2002 (para 11), the meaning of “sham” was given as follows:

    “….acts done or documents executed by the parties to the “sham” which are intended by them to give to third parties or to the court the appearance of creating between the parties legal rights and obligations different from the actual legal rights and obligations (if any) which the parties intended to create.”

    In summary, you may still have options and there is nothing to prevent a decision being made which includes “in the alternative” considerations.


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