One bedroom flat

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    Recently had a claim from a person with a joint tenancy, it appears that they share a one bed flat.

    We wrote asking for info and he has declared that he sleeps on the sofa in the living room and that he pays half of the rent.

    The question I have is does this count as a commercial tenancy. The man is quite adamant that the other joint tenant is not his partner and that she has sole use of the bedroom. We also have no evidence to suggest that they are livng as a couple, however I am unsure whether this arrangement is commercial.

    Any help would be appreciated!


    You’d have trouble proving a non – commercial tenancy but what about consideration as to forming a common household? I’ve just done one such situation where, albeit they were sharing the bedroom (and there was no privacy) and am awaiting the result. That way you’d need to aggregate resources etc. Would they therefore qualify and might that solve your problem?

    Do I know what I'm doing? The jury's out on that........................


    If you aggregate resources you are deciding that the two are living as husband and wife. It is not just a matter of living in the same household

    Can you defend the LTAHW decision with all that entails?


    What makes you say this is non-commercial?

    If you believe this is a ltahw case (with slim to no evidence) then this should be investigated.

    If they are joint tenants, why does he not have use of the bedroom?

    It does not sound like he got the best end of this joint tenancy; why does he not get less rent to pay than his fellow “joint” tenant?

    Anyway, the Rent Officer will give a low valuation for this “dwelling”, if he is not a joint tenant and has use of a sofa only (need to check that these are the actual terms, not just his say so).

    Are your suspicions aroused purely because of the gender of the occupants or the sleeping arrangements?

    It is possible that although both names appear on the tenancy agreement he is actually a sub-tenant or not liable at all, some agents/landlords include all adults on tenancies.


    If you are suggesting that the arrangement is not at ‘arms length’ then have a look at Rv Greenwich LBC ex parte Moult (1998).

    PM me if you want info


    Next application I pick up; joint tenants, one bedroom.

    Is this a new “trend”?


    A joint tenancy would make the liability joint and several. It would normally be up to the tenants to decide how much rent each would pay.

    Where HB is invloved, the apportionment of the liability is for determination by the LA (having regard to all the circumstances) and subject to a right of appeal. Have a look at the decision of Mr Commissioner Jacobs CH/3376/2002 which is quite enlightening.

    As for commerciality, the RSL that I worked for granted a joint tenancy of a one bedroom flat to a couple of elderly people. The man was carer for the woman, and he too slept in the living room. Both were on pension credit and both gor full HB, but the person being cared for got the severe disabilty premium with her pension credit and he got the carer premium.

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