Meals previously included now dropped by LL

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  • #34490
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Have you ever come across anything like this? Clt renting rooms above a pub and breakfast was included. Total rent quite high and there was a RO restriction. The LL has now decided to withdraw the breakfast, meaning the couple go on to LHA. Because they (apparently) have 2 rooms they are eligible for the 1BR rate of LHA (rather than the self contained rate) so the total amount of HB has increased even though their eligible rent has gone down. Can I go for “contrived” (and how the hell do you prove they’re not getting breakfast anyway)?

    #96980
    J Cox
    Participant

    Hi,

    Sorry this is an old post being resurrected, but…

    I have a similar query to this, but mine is about whether or not it is actually now LHA.
    Meals were included and were subject to RO decision, but now the rent has been reduced and meals no longer provided. Your post suggests this becomes LHA, but does it? I can’t see that any criteria are met for 13C(2), and so I cannot make it LHA. Does it therefore just stay as RO decision without a meals deduction?
    What have I missed?

    #96981
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I don’t know when your claim was first made but mine was after April 2008. In my view any claim made after that date is LHA unless….one of the exceptions being where meals are provided, so once the meals are withdrawn it becomes LHA. If your claim predates that I would argue that it stays “old scheme” with a new RO referral to reflect terms of tenancy changing.

    #51018
    J Cox
    Participant

    Mine was after April 2008. When meals were included though you have already made a decision to rent refer. When meals are stopped on what grounds can you now make it LHA. It’s neither a new claim nor a change of address, so how does it change from one scheme to another?
    Logically it should be LHA when meals stop, but I’m not sure how this fits in with regs…

    #96982
    Anonymous
    Guest

    It doesn’t have to be a new claim. Reg 13C says LHA is applicable on “a claim” where the date of claim falls on or after 7th April 2008. In fact it goes further and says a relevant authority “shall” determine a maximum rent (LHA), so that is your default position. This is why I got all my old style claimants to withdraw their claim and reapply where they were better off on LHA.

    #96983
    J Cox
    Participant

    [quote:58a1346a36]This is why I got all my old style claimants to withdraw their claim and reapply where they were better off on LHA[/quote:58a1346a36]
    But when they reapply it becomes a new claim, and is covered by reg 13C(2)(a).

    The default position is not LHA. The reg states:
    “A relevant authority shall determine a maximum rent…in any case where paragraphs (2) or (3) apply”

    The regulation doesn’t apply to B&L cases as shown in 13C(5).

    Once a claim has been started under rent officer in accordance with the exclusion in 13C(5), how does 13C(2) ever kick in, as changing the rent to exclude meals does not make it a new claim or change of address.

    I can’t see that 13C(2) can kick in again automatically when meals are excluded. Although, some explanation could easily persuade me to see it 🙂 as it would make sense if it did.

    #96984
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    I think it clearly has to be LHA and if you refer it to the RO they will probably refuse to provide a valuation on the new terms. I agree the legislation sets out that all private tenants must be assessed under LHA rules unless they are specifically excluded / protection. One exclusion is provision of meals. Your claimant has had a change in circumstances and therefore loses the protection. The change in circs has to be done from a specific date depending on notification of the change and its impact. But I agree you have to reach that decision via a tenuous and circular route through the regs.

    #96985
    Anonymous
    Guest

    The Regs are very difficult to follow, but I think I agree with J Cox.

    I think the RO referral cycle continues unlkess and until there is an event of the kind described in Reg 13C(2).

    The significance of the ending of meals is, I think, simply to alter the RO referral cycle: there should be a new referral because there has been a “change relating to a rent allowance”: see Reg 14(1)(c) and (8), which in turn refers you on to Schedule 2, para 2(3)(a) to (b). I would argue that subpara (b) applies – there has been a significant change to the tenancy conditions, so a new RO referral is made. Reg 14(1)(c) requires the RO referral to be made unless there has been one of the events requiring an LHA determination under Reg 13C. There hasn’t.

    Notice in particular that Reg 13C(5) is irrelevant for established Rent Officer cases (tenancy types excluded from LHA, such as B&B): Reg 13C(5) is only relevant on a new claim, change of address or PTD. Compare and contrast Reg 14(1)(a), (b), (d) and (e) on the one hand with Reg 14(1)(c), (f) and (g) on the other. In short, once a case is within the RO system, it doesn’t escape from it until there is a change of address, break in claim, change affecting size criteria or death of a relevant person.

    So my view is: keep it as an RO case, but make a new referral because the terms of the tenancy have changed.

    EDIT – just realised that the change of size criteria/death of a relevant person only apply to existing LHA cases, so it stays RO until there is a break of claim or change of address.

    #96986
    Anonymous
    Guest

    LHA Guidance Manuel

    1.081 Where a tenancy is exempt from the LHA because it falls within one of the exemption categories and that tenancy changes, for example a registered provider de-registers with the Tenant Services Authority (TSA), the award should continue to be treated under normal HB regulations and will not transfer onto the LHA arrangements until one of the trigger events, outlined at paragraph 1.080, occurs.

    #96987
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    OK but then we get back to the old arguments. If the claimant is now better off on LHA and submits a new claim (with or without a break) what then?

    No need to respond – there are 200 posts answering this already! 8) 😆

    #96988
    J Cox
    Participant

    I must confess to having avoided those posts in the past 🙂

    We take the view that if they’re better off they can transfer over but only with a break in the claim. We also don’t actively offer this because who knows what next year’s rates will bring…

    As you say, it’s a separate issue with its own problems to overcome!

    EDIT: And I forgot to say – thanks for everyone’s input in to this. It is appreciated.

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