More Supporting People shenanigans

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    I’ve just heard from a colleague who is currently working with the Social Services department of one of the London Boroughs. One of their client organisations has recently had its SP funding cut. Their reaction to this was to bring in some clever consultants who have rejigged all the tenancies (and, of course, the rent) in such a way that the properties in question are now “exempt properties”…the belief being that the LA will not be able to restrict the rents to the RO’s valuations under “old Reg 11”.

    Very clever, although it does seem to me that the consultants have not considered the fine print of “old Reg 7″…


    … and a service charge is still a service charge, whether it’s specified or not, under any vintage of Reg 11/13. If the cost of support is being disguised in the basic rent, Schedule 1 deals with it under the old Reg 10 (or the new Consequential Provisions Regs)


    True enough, but much more fun to refuse to pay anything at all because it’s a “contrived” tenancy!


    This is happening left, right and centre. Peter’s approach is certainly the one I’ve recommended. These consultants ain’t just clever they’re downright devious – and frankly somewhat threatening too. But they seem to expect a row about whether they are really old scheme cases and how this would work rather than properly identifying ineligble portions of the ‘rent’. When challenged they are likely to insist that there is some miraculous need to increase the core rent astronomically because the landlord is operating at a financial loss.

    Where it is clear what is going on I suggest dismissing all or most of the increase as an ineligible support cost and see what happens next (other than a flurry of letters and veiled threats).


    What you CAN do is to invite DWP to join any appeal, even at Tribunal stage. The fact that the case might end up taking some years to resolve and could go to the COA might lead the provider to reach some sort of compromise. It is time DWP commented at length on this growing issue.

    On the other hand, if we look at it from the providers point of view, what ae they to do? Their funding has been withdrawn, they provide accommodation to vulnerable tenants on benefits .. They either try to increase HB or they try to close the scheme down and evict the tenants. Who wants that?

    Another fine mess …..

    Kevin D

    Options, depending on the facts, are as follows:

    1) for new claims, contrived**
    2) utilise “saved” HBR 10 to restrict the service charge
    3) restrict rent increases under the “saved” HBR 12

    ** don’t hesitate to consider this option if the facts and evidence leads to such a conclusion – it is perfectly proper and reasonable approach which can, and has been, successfully used.

    As for the “consultants”, I strongly advise that you look into who they are. Wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if some of the individuals behind the “advice” are connected to other supposedly separate companies in the same line of “work”. Also, don’t hesitate to undertake company searches on both the L/L and then directorship searches on the individuals behind the company. Then, check the other companies found on the directorships and so on. You may be amazed at the connections.

    If further doubts surface as a result of your enquiries, don’t hesitate to push of info / evidence etc. And, it would be entirely reasonable to ask for evidence of the grant as it was, and then as it is now AND to ask for confirmation (evidenced) of what the “old” grant was intended to be used for.

    If you’d like to run any names past me, feel free to pm them – I’ll be happy to provide any such info if I have it – including LA contacts. For the record, the info in question is a matter of public record, so there is no issue of DPA infringement etc.

    Hope the above helps.

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