Recovery of overpayments – rent free weeks

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  • #32027
    louie
    Participant

    Has anyone come across relevant caselaw – we have an appeal hearing on 30 November and would love to be able to refer to caselaw but can’t find any that is directly attributable to rent free weeks. We paid HB during rent free weeks and although our error, decided to recover from claimants in some cases and Housing Association in the others. All cases have been appealed on the basis that they did not know they were being overpaid. We can use CH/866/2006 for a ‘catch all’ but would rather use some that is more directed at Housing Associations and rent free weeks if possible. Any suggestions greatly appreciated!!!

    #42529
    jamcon
    Participant

    Have a look at CH 4918 2003. It’s not about rent free weeks as such, but it does say that landlords are subject to the same three tests as claimants as set out by Commissioner Jacobs in CH 2554 2002 for LA error overpayments. If your landlord schedules are clear enough for the period the benefit covers for each claimant, then I think most landlords who have rent free weeks are aware HB is not paid for those periods.

    #89495
    Andy Thurman
    Keymaster

    Take care to differentiate from rent free weeks themselves and not any adjustment as a result of the calc for the other weeks of the year.

    Also, unless the total HB being paid is greater than the total liability, the HA’s and especially any claimants, you may struggle to justify that they could reasonably expect to have realised. (How many times has every benefit assessor struggled to tell a claimant with monthly rent that the payments are 13 x 4 wkly/26 x 2 wkly etc.)

    For the HA, one thing in your favour would be if there are other cases for the same landlord where the rent free weeks have been correctly dealt with.

    #89496
    louie
    Participant

    Thank you very much for the responses, much appreciated

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