Property in trust

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    Hi everyone, I thought I would post this I as I am doubting myself (again). I am dealing with a case where a claimant and landlord are named on the land registry as joint proprietor’s. The claimant has made a claim for HB and CTB on the grounds that the property is in trust for a child who is a relative of both claimant and landlord.

    However, the claimant has provided a letter from the land registry (TR1) which confirms that the property is in trust for a child. I have since spoken to the landlord at length but I still consider HB cannot be paid. Please can someone just confirm I am not going mad!


    In my view it would depend on whether the property is freehold or leasehold. If it is freehold, your claimant is caught by the owner definition (entitled to dispose of the fee simple). As the case of Burton and New Forest shows (as well as several Commissioners’ decisions before it) if the trustee is the registered proprietor they cannot get HB.

    If he is not the freeholder, you have at least got some leeway, but even then the presumption is that he doesn’t qualify for HB as he is paying rent to trustees (including himself!) of a trust of which he is, er, a trustee. He has to convince you he is not doing this to abuse the scheme – Reg 9(1)(e). In short, you’ve got to have a pretty good reason for paying rent to yourself if you want to claim HB!


    Sticking head over parapet here (tin helmet taken away due to budget cuts!)

    Who was the previous owner and how did the property become the subject of a trust for the child of the claimant and landlord?

    Who are the trustees?

    Is the child (relative) a dependant child?

    This does rather suggest the possibility of an attempt to circumnavigate Reg 9 (1) and could well be “contrived” (said to spare typing “that phrase”). However Reg 9 (1) (f) may cover this. This excludes a liability to a trustee of a trust of which a dependant child is a beneficiary. This could certainly appear to be the case here (if I read your post correctly).

    I would suggest that you get the full Land Reg history before making your decision.

    No, I don’t think you’re going mad – it’s just another step in the minefield that is benefits!!

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