LHA issues log

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  • #33894
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    A HBINFO LHA issues log can be found here:

    http://hbinfo.local/menu4/lha/lhaissueslog.htm

    This lists those issues that have arisen both on the message boards and at the HBINFO training sessions. We will update it regularly with both new issues and answers. Hopefully, the notes are clear although it may particularly help those who have attended the training (including IT companies, two of whom attended last week) who will better understand the “shorthand” notes.

    The more HBINFO staff look at the scheme, the more differences we are identifying between the pathfinder scheme and the new scheme. The £15 cap and the fact the scheme only applies to new cases make such a difference.

    Please post other queries (or answers!) here or you can email me at peter@octagonconsultancy.com.

    #94285
    andyrichards
    Participant

    In the second one down, what is it that the DWP is saying is correct? My understanding was that if a non-dep clearly belongs to one tenant, then that is the only tenant who gets a second bedroom.

    It is where the non-dep has to be regarded as belonging to all j/t’s that they all get an extra bedroom.

    #94286
    Anonymous
    Guest

    We are looking at the definition of “occupier” in draft Reg 13D. It covers anyone who occupies the “dwelling” as their home except joint tenants. It seems to me that all the hangers-on who come as a package with the joint tenant (not just the j/t’s personal non-deps, but also the j/t’s partner who is not a j/t himself/herself, and the j/t’s children) do occupy the dwelling as their home, but only the joint tenant is specifically excluded from the definition of “occupier”.

    Subtenants are an interesting case and the Commissioners’ decisions on the term “dwelling” in Reg 9(1)(b) appeals could be useful.

    In the pathfinder authorities these issues were of huge importance because there was no cap on the amount of HB. But we are starting to think (and the DWP has confirmed this in the case of shared non-deps) that the £15 cap does away with the need to have complex provisions to curb every specific windfall.

    Suppose you have a brother and sister sharing a house as joint tenants, and one of them has two children. The sister cannot count the brother as an occupier, nor can the brother count the sister as an occupier. But can both of them count both children? I’d say they can as Reg 13D is currently drafted. But so what? The worst that can happen is they get R + £30 between the pair of them.

    The £15 cap is starting to look like a master-stroke of simplicity!

    #47991
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    Andy

    Dwp confirmed that all JT’s would get the second bedroom, irrespective of “belonging” etc. The point seems to be that the £15 will limit the amount paid out.

    Incidentally, what DID you do with sub-tenants in the pathfinders? Was it included in your initial guidance?

    #94287
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    A master-stroke? I agree that the cap (£15) has lots of good points (goodbye to excessive service charges?). As with everything in HB, the devil is in the detail. Most of us who have worked in the HB field for years really enjoy working out the complex issues (if we are honest!). I admit I find this change fascinating.

    Here is another issue to add to the issues list (well done to the delegate from Bolton who raised it).

    Rent changes are supposed to have no impact on LHA but what if the claimant is entitled to an amount more than £15 below the LHA rate and the rent changes (up or down)?

    For example, claimant is a joint-tenant and is paying £70 out of the total rent of £130 because they have a bigger room. The LHA rate for them is £95 so they are entitled to £85.

    What if the total rent is increased to £140? The claimant informs the LA they are now paying £75. Can the LA increase the amount paid to £90? It is still below the LHA rent.

    What if the JT’s agree amongst themselves that both will pay £65 in future – i.e. the claimant is now paying a slightly lower rent? The customer is now entitled to £80. Do they keep the £85 until the anniversary date?

    Should the LA just supercede in the normal way or do they have to wait for the anniversary? I think the first but am open to persuasion.

    As I see it, the current reg on this point still has to apply albeit only to work out whether to invoke the £15 cap.

    “Where more than one person is liable to make payments in respect of a dwelling, the payments specified in paragraph (1) shall be apportioned for the purpose of calculating the eligible rent for each such person having regard to all the circumstances, in particular, the number of such persons and the proportion of rent paid by each such person”.

    Peter Barker wrote:

    I have been having a very close look at Regs 13C and 13D

    I cannot see any provision to re-set the maximum rent (LHA) before the anniversary date except where Reg 13C(2) applies (change of dwelling and so on).

    Reg 13D(5) and (6) say the maximum rent (LHA) is either the LHA or the cap rent + £15; and Reg 13C says when you are allowed to redetermine the maximum rent (LHA). But the cap rent itself is decided in a preliminary procedure under Reg 13D(4). I wonder whether it is possible, within the anniversary period, to redetermine the cap rent? That would in turn cause the maximum rent (LHA) to change, but only as a knock-on consequence of redetermining the cap rent. The LHA itself would not be updated and would stay on track for its anniversary review

    As you say, that would enable a superseding decision to be made in a case where the cap rent plus £15 is lower than the LHA on the date of the original HB decision. I think you would have to make the superseding decision if the cap rent plus £15 is still less than the LHA even after the increase, or if it exceeds the LHA after the increase: either way, the Reg 13D(5) comparison would result in a higher eligible rent.

    #94288
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Following on from Peter’s last post, if landlords and tenant’s start charging different rents to take advantage of the £15 shopping incentive, could this be considered as creating a rent liability in order to take advantage of the HB scheme, and therefore fall foul of reg 9(1)(L)?

    #94289
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    Latest version of LHA issues log is now on site here

    https://hbinfo.org/menu4/lha/lhaissueslog.htm

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