Need guidance re making 6 yr old child liable for HB

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  • #31710
    selina_neville
    Participant

    Hello

    A couple of weeks ago I posted a question about a case where our HB claimant is going to be absent from home for 52 weeks soon due to hospitalization following a brutal attack that left her nearly dead. The claimant’s children aged 4 and 6 are currently living at the claim address being looked after by their grandmother who has moved in to look after them. The grandmother owns her own property elsewhere and would not be eligible to claim in her her own name due to her income/capital etc.

    Following lots of advice (thanks everyone!) we have established that there is no age limit to claim HB and therefore if the landlord accepts to issue a TA in one of the children’s names, then we can pay HB in the child’s name and levy a nondep charge in respect of the grandmother.

    However, we have come across a bit of a stumbling block because the Landlord/Agents have pointed out whilst yes, they are sympathetic to their tenant’s situation, they do not think it would be appropriate to issue a TA in the name of a 6 year old child, even if the grandmother’s name was on the TA as the child’s guardian/appointee. They said this is because any person(s) named on the TA would be held jointly and severally liable to pay the rent and therefore in case of default on payment they would not be able to enforce the contract because a minor cannot enter into such an agreement.

    Can anyone offer some advice how to get around this please? Your experiences in similar cases etc.

    Many thanks

    Selina

    #88667
    andyrichards
    Participant

    I am not clear why you cannot simply pay the tenant under the temporary absence provisions. The grandmother would be a non-dep but it would presumably be the lowest deduction if she is not working. If that is an issue, then this sounds like a good case for a DHP.

    If the landlord has concerns about rent payments then perhaps someone (the grandmother?) could stand as guarantor, but if payments could be made direct to the landlord I don’t really see the problem – the tenant’s HB entitlement isn’t likely to change while she remains hospitalised, is it?

    I am sure I must be missing something and I have not looked at your earlier post.

    #88668
    mairir
    Participant

    Hi,

    I would put forward that there is no need for there to be a new tenancy created as the HB rules state that you can be treated as liable if you have to pay rent in order to continue to live in your home because the liable person is not doing so (and in this case can’t) and it is reasonable to treat you as liable.

    The reference in the CPAG book is CSHB/606/2005.

    Hope this helps.

    Mairi

    #88669
    selina_neville
    Participant

    [quote:b0b5ccc24e=”andyrichards”]I am not clear why you cannot simply pay the tenant under the temporary absence provisions. The grandmother would be a non-dep but it would presumably be the lowest deduction if she is not working. If that is an issue, then this sounds like a good case for a DHP.

    If the landlord has concerns about rent payments then perhaps someone (the grandmother?) could stand as guarantor, but if payments could be made direct to the landlord I don’t really see the problem – the tenant’s HB entitlement isn’t likely to change while she remains hospitalised, is it?

    I am sure I must be missing something and I have not looked at your earlier post.[/quote:b0b5ccc24e]

    Hi Andy, this is because the claimant/tenant has been in hospital for nearly 52 weeks and we anticipate that her absence is likely to exeed the 52 weeks by a couple of extra weeks. The reason we can carry on paying UP TO the 52 week mark is because there is an expectation that her absence will not significantly exceed the 52 and is likely to be less than 15 months….

    #88670
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    As I understand it the year temp absence provision has been exhausted. The “treating someone as liable” rule requires someone to be deemed as liable and that cannot be the grandmother for other grounds. It is worth considering though.

    So either way we are left with the child. The solicitors are of course correct in that the contract is not legally enforceable but as HB is going to be paid to cover the amount then that should not be a problem. You could suggest they levy a “trespass and damage” charge rather than a formal contract if that makes it easier.

    However, these arrangements always need cooperation from the landlord. Solicitors are always going to be cautious in this type of situation – does the landlord have any responsibility to the child under other legislation, health and safety for instance, what if the LA stopped paying for any reason and so on. It is fraught with difficulty and the landlord may just think I dont need this and that the LA should provide alternative accommodation.

    Think of issues like insurance from the landlords perspective. If there was a fire etc. It is a lot of responsibility.

    #88671
    selina_neville
    Participant

    [quote:10e7b97c94=”mairir”]Hi,

    I would put forward that there is no need for there to be a new tenancy created as the HB rules state that you can be treated as liable if you have to pay rent in order to continue to live in your home because the liable person is not doing so (and in this case can’t) and it is reasonable to treat you as liable.

    The reference in the CPAG book is CSHB/606/2005.

    Hope this helps.

    Mairi[/quote:10e7b97c94]

    Thank you very much Mairi, I will run this past my manager and hopefully this may work!!!

    #88672
    selina_neville
    Participant

    [quote:c2a8669e93=”peterdelamothe”]As I understand it the year temp absence provision has been exhausted. The “treating someone as liable” rule requires someone to be deemed as liable and that cannot be the grandmother for other grounds. It is worth considering though.

    So either way we are left with the child. The solicitors are of course correct in that the contract is not legally enforceable but as HB is going to be paid to cover the amount then that should not be a problem. You could suggest they levy a “trespass and damage” charge rather than a formal contract if that makes it easier.

    However, these arrangements always need cooperation from the landlord. Solicitors are always going to be cautious in this type of situation – does the landlord have any responsibility to the child under other legislation, health and safety for instance, what if the LA stopped paying for any reason and so on. It is fraught with difficulty and the landlord may just think I dont need this and that the LA should provide alternative accommodation.

    Think of issues like insurance from the landlords perspective. If there was a fire etc. It is a lot of responsibility.[/quote:c2a8669e93]

    You are right Peter, this is all going to hinge on how accomodating the landlords/agents are willing to be and one cannot blame them for taking the “better safe than sorry” position. I was just so hopeful that this was going to be the way forward for my claimant’s family who have been through hell.

    #41580
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I agree that there’s no need for a new tenancy agreement; the original tenant remains liable but the child is treated as liable under reg 8(1)(c)(ii).

    I don’t think the landlord should be concerned – their original tenancy agreement remains in place and enforceable, the children are being cared for by their grandma, etc.

    #41581
    selina_neville
    Participant

    [quote:6827755047=”mwigg1″]I agree that there’s no need for a new tenancy agreement; the original tenant remains liable but the child is treated as liable under reg 8(1)(c)(ii).

    I don’t think the landlord should be concerned – their original tenancy agreement remains in place and enforceable, the children are being cared for by their grandma, etc.[/quote:6827755047]

    Thanks Michael. I was wondering, if there is no new tenancy agreement but we are setting up a new claim in the boy’s name, can we accept the TA in the mum’s name? I mean normally we would not accept a TA in the name other than the claimant/partner…

    #88673
    mairir
    Participant

    I think the point there is ‘would not’. There isn’t any reason I’m aware of that you ‘could not’. And you might have problems if a decision is based on ‘would not’ – particularly as there only has to be proof that rent is legally due and that it isn’t being paid any other way by the liable person.

    As it seems like your office is sympathetic to the situation and it saves potentially huge upheaval for the children, potentially huge costs to other sections of the local authority (after all we don’t know that grandma has room for them at her house which could lead to the children being taken into care if they lose this property) and gives their mother some hope of resuming at least a semblance of the life she left behind before her hospitalisation there seems no reason not to go ahead as you plan.

    Mairi

    #88674
    selina_neville
    Participant

    [quote:2771d14fbd=”mairir”]I think the point there is ‘would not’. There isn’t any reason I’m aware of that you ‘could not’. And you might have problems if a decision is based on ‘would not’ – particularly as there only has to be proof that rent is legally due and that it isn’t being paid any other way by the liable person.

    As it seems like your office is sympathetic to the situation and it saves potentially huge upheaval for the children, potentially huge costs to other sections of the local authority (after all we don’t know that grandma has room for them at her house which could lead to the children being taken into care if they lose this property) and gives their mother some hope of resuming at least a semblance of the life she left behind before her hospitalisation there seems no reason not to go ahead as you plan.

    Mairi[/quote:2771d14fbd]

    Makes sense, thanks Mairi.

    #88675
    Anonymous
    Guest

    [quote:b58826e49b]I mean normally we would not accept a TA in the name other than the claimant/partner…[/quote:b58826e49b]
    I imagine this is not a normal situation… 😉

    If you’re satisfied that the mum is liable you don’t need to ask for anything else – you are only treating the child as if he were liable, you are not asking for a new tenancy to be created or anything.

    #88676
    selina_neville
    Participant

    Just wanted to say a genuine “thank you” to everyone and I now have enough advice to move forward with this case. It is great to find so much help and support.

    Wishing you all a great day.

    Selina

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