Providing information to the Rent Service post April 2008

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    Anthony Sandys

    My question was around whether we have the right to request information from people on the premis that it is needed, in order for them to qualify for Local Housing Allowance, when it isn’t.

    We can’t say ‘you must tell us this information so we can process your claim’ and then go ahead and process it anyway if the section on the form is left blank.

    We have one generic claim form and are thinking of leaving these questions off the form, and having a separate form for this information (which will be optional to complete for LHA customers). There is the problem that this may get missed when a person makes a new claim that’s exempt from LHA, but how many are we realistically going to get (not many houseboats in Darlington)?


    We can pretty much do whatever we want with data provided our records with the Information Commissioner are up to date. The problem being how many LAs have updated the Information Commissioner with what information is held about their data subjects and who that data is passed to? Some things you should not do is leave it on a plane / train or lose it, or pass it on to irrelevant third parties without further consent (and an opt out). Is the Rent Service a relevant third party? The information the Rent Service require from April seems to be nothing more than a property survey, in that case the claimant should be able to opt out of supplying that information.


    Sorry to bump this up but I need this issue clarified because I’m confused/stupid.

    The basic information to be supplied to the Rent Service under Reg. 114A(1) & (2) seems to relate to non LHA cases. Wouldn’t the Rent Service be sent this information via a full referral?

    The general view I’ve got from other HB practitioners is that the information under Reg 114(A)(1) & (2) needs to be sent for LHA cases. This is so the Rent Service can remove these properties let to HB from their list of rental evidence. This makes sense but the legislation does not back this up.

    Can someone steer me in the right direction?



    I have asked the DWP about the implications of this.

    My view is that for the purposes of deciding a claim it is not required. (At best the information on properties is supplied to help decide other peoples claims).

    For the purposes of subsidy, it is not a missing referral so for that purpose there would be no subsidy penalty; but I do not think this gives LAs the green light to totally ignore the Rent Service.


    junderwo – I agree that you are correct in noting that the current drafting of Regulation 114A (1) does not require information on rents to be passed to the RO when the case is assessed under the LHA National Scheme.

    This is because 114A (1)(b) refers to Regulations 12A and 12E to 12K, all of which relate to the Pathfinder scheme only.

    I made this point on this thread on 19 November 2007.

    I contacted the DWP about this seeming drafting error at the time I made the posting, and they acknowledged it then. Since that time the “Housing Benefit (Local Housing Allowance, Information Sharing and Miscellaneous) Amendment Regulations” have been circulated in draft form, and in these amendments 12A has been substituted by 12D, which is the correct reference for the National Scheme.

    Therefore, while this particular issue is legally academic at the current time, the issues discussed in this thread will have a substantial legal basis when the amended Regulations are passed.

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