Reg 9 – renting from brother

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    Scenario – a claim is received from a clmt who is renting a property next door to her brother, who is also her landlord. When a visit is made it is discovered that the two properties have been knocked through & all the family are living together. An inspection revealed only one bathroom is being used, the other is full of ‘junk’, and food for all the family members is being kept in one fridge.
    The clmt claims to sleep in a bedroom in her house but the living room is ‘communal’. Other rooms in her house are just used for storage.
    the valuation office are aware of this & are treating them as separate dwellings as the both have their own bathrooms & kitchens.
    I am refusing the HB on the basis of living with close relative. We also pay ctax benefit on the property where the brother lives, as he is a non dep on this claim!
    Where do we stand with the ctax benefit on her claim? Both properties are privately owned & the landlord does have others which we have paid benefits on

    Chris Robbins

    Lynn, from what you say it sounds as though the family are maintaing a single household comprising the two properties.
    That being so my view is that Council Tax should not be treating your claimant as the liable person. I would ask them to accept that the owner of the property is the person against whom the charge should be made. Whether they bill for a single property or two separate dwellings then becomes irrelevant from a benefit point of view.
    If they do that your claimant has no CT liability against which CTB can be paid, and you will clearly refuse the HB claim as you say.

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