Rent service refusing to provide a determination

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    We have made a late (but not what we considered too late) referral to the Rent Service for a claimant whose claim has ended because they left the property. Before we made the late referral we processed a new claim for a new tenant at the same address, and made a referral to the Rent Service for the new claim. The household circumstances for the new tenant were different than those of the old tenant.

    The Rent Service have said that they cannot give us a decision for the old claim because they have already provided us with a decision for the new claim, even though the circumstances of the two cases are different.

    Has anyone else come across a similar situation?

    There is every chance a customer could make a claim for backdated benefit for an address at which they are no longer resident and if they show good cause we would have to pay it – but how could we if the RO refuses to provide a determination.


    I don’t think they can do this. I assume they are working on the basis that once a decision is made then, unless there is a relevant change, it will be 52 weeks before they can make another decision.

    But in this case the starting point has to be whether or not a referral is required. HB Reg 14(1)(a) insists that you “shall” refer the rent to the Rent Officer because it’s clear from what you say that the existing decision can not be applied to this claim.

    Now if you “shall” refer the case (i.e. you must) then Reg 3(1) of the the Rent Officer (Housing Benefit) Functions Order says that they “shall” (i.e. must) make a determination. There are circumstances in which the Rent Officer can refuse but these relate only to specified circumstances that don’t apply to your case or where the application “is not one which gives rise to a duty to make a determination” (Reg 6(4) of the same regs).

    So I don’t see how the RO has any choice but to give you a decision.

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