Non Commercial Tenancy? – parents are l/lord co. directors

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    I know this topic has is covered regularly here, but I would like some help on an appeal I am looking at – please bear with me it’s a rather long post!

    Two sisters live in seperate flats in a block and have been receiving HB for the last 3 years.

    Sister A is appealing against termination of HB – income to high to qualify (among other appeals). She started as self employed and we noticed payments from her landlord of £193.00 per week going into her bank account. We have classed this as part of her S/E income as it was declared as payments from parents to help start up business which has nilled entitlement – hence the appeal. Further investigation followed & it is now known that the parents of the sisters are the directors of the company which is the landlord. The payments came from the Company account rather than the parents’ personal account (the parents have also made personal payments to sister A to help with living costs). After more questions and investigation we have been told that the payments were a loan which needs to be paid back.

    Sister A has put a new claim in for this address and is now on JSA(IB). She has also put in a COA to a cheaper property – which her landlord (still the parent’s company) has just bought.

    Other interesting factors which may be relevant:

    – Sister B has just accrued over £1K in o/p from non-declaration of WTC & CTC and also has just moved, but out of our area
    – both daughters were the 1st tenants of the property when bought by the company, including the new property that sister A has moved to
    – the rent for both sisters increased from £400 – £650 p/m although the RO didn’t agree the increase
    – Sister A didn’t give the required notice to vacate – further info is being requested from the landlord to establish if the rent for the remaining liability will be pursued (I suspect that they may just transfer the tenancy).

    Obviously I cannot bring the non-commercial aspect of this claim to the appeal as it was not part of our decision, however we are still to decide the new claim.

    So my questions are:

    – can a commercial tenancy be non commercial for part of the tenancy (ie just while sister A was self employed) as R(H) 1/03 states that the provision ‘must be construed and applied consistently with that purpose’ indicating that once non-commercial always so in which case at what point does the tenancy change?

    – if it changes from the beginning does it effect Sister B’s claim as there some of the aspects of a non-commercial tenancy there

    – can we refuse Sister A’s new claim on the grounds of non-commercial tenancy and let it go to appeal

    – can we issue another decision on the previous claim so we can include non-commercial tenancy as well?

    Any replies will be gratefully recieved!! 😀 😀




    There is a lot here and it sounds like a full day will be needed at Tribunal. I will just deal wth your last query and let others have a go at the rest.

    You can issue a new decision if you wish. However as the Tribunal is “stepping into the shoes” of the decision maker and considering the matter afresh, I am not sure you need to provided you include the issue in detail in the appeal. That brings it to the attention of the Tribunal and the appellant.


    thanks for replying Peter

    is it ok to do that even though we have never mentioned to the claimant the possibility of her tenancy not being commercial?

    I thought that an appeal could only look at the issues the claimant is disagreeing on or reasons for the decision?

    Can you clarify?

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