LHA – What is classed as ‘self contained’

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    We are currently in dispute with a customer who lives in B & B accommodation & says he does not share any facilities. He has his own bedroom & bathroom & has a microwave & kettle in the room.

    Is this classed as self contained if he has ‘cooking facilities’? Help please.

    Chris Robbins

    The standard test for determining whether a person has separate cooking facilities is not just the provision of a kettle and microwave but whether there are also separate food storage and preparation areas within the room that he rents.
    I don’t know how much detail you have about his arrangements, but if for example the property has a shared kitchen and he keeps food in a fridge there, then he is definitely shared room rate.
    If on the other hand his room does have storage and preparation areas then I would suspect he meets the criteria for the one-bed rate.


    I’m looking at this myself Chris. Whilst I agree with you I am looking for a little more to backup the decision.
    You refer to the ‘standard test’. Is this provided by DWP guidance or similar?


    I don’t know if Chris is referring to Schedule 3 of the Licensing and Management of Houses of Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2006 define kitchen facilities thus:-

    4.—(1) Where a unit of living accommodation contains kitchen facilities for the exclusive use of the individual household, and there are no other kitchen facilities available for that household, that unit must be provided with—
    (a) adequate appliances and equipment for the cooking of food;
    (b) a sink with an adequate supply of cold and constant hot water;
    (c) a work top for the preparation of food;
    (d) sufficient electrical sockets;
    (e) a cupboard for the storage of kitchen utensils and crockery; and
    (f) a refrigerator.

    This seems a rather gold-plated definition for LHA purposes, but on the other hand a kettle and a microwave alone seems inadequate. I suspect the answer lies somewhere in between. I’m surprised the UT hasn’t had a look at this already, as the number of posts over the last couple of years about this suggests a number of claimants/landlords have disagreed with various LAs interpretations.

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