Shared Accommodation Rate? But meals and twin room?

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  • #44865
    arenton
    Participant

    Hello all,

     

    I wonder if anyone can advise me on the following?

     

    We have an establishment in our area where there are 2 cottages- each cottage has 3 bedrooms, 1 kitchen, and 1 bathroom (no living room).  Tenants in the property either share a twin room, or have a single room to themselves- but all have shared access to the bathroom and kitchen.  All tenants actually have meals provided for them which they pay for in their rent- but are provided at a different property (dinning room in another property).  HB claims are therefore referred to the rent officer rather than come under LHA.

     

    All I really want to know is- should the shared accommodation rate apply to all these tenants- regardless of whether they have a bedroom to themselves or a shared twin room?

     

    I'm thinking yes- but if I am understanding it right- the shared accommodation rate should apply where they have-

    "exclusive use of one bedroom" and where "the rent does not include any payment for board and lodgings", (Rent Officers (HB Functions) (Scotland) Order 1997)?

     

    in these particular properties Meals ARE provided and in some cases they dont have exclusive use of their own bedroom- so should the Shared Room rate be applied?

     

    Any advice would be much appreciated-  Thanks

    #126696
    andyrichards
    Participant

    I’m not clear whether you are primarily questioning whether they should actually be LHA rather than Rent Officer cases. Seems clear to me they are board and lodge cases, in which it’s for the RO to decide surely?

    In any case, if they are LHA cases, what rate would be applicable, if not the shared?

    #126697
    Lisa Stewart
    Participant

    I would say that this is clearly a board and lodge cases and should be referred to the rent officer, as there is a specific charge for meals I would advise the RO of this in the breakdown of the rent charged.

    #126698
    Lis
    Participant

    I believe they are sharing a twin room. They are referred as a bedspace with board/meals.

    #126744
    andyrichards
    Participant

    I think there is a bit of an ommission in the regs with regards to specific reference to people constituting separate “households” sharing a room. I don’t think DWP ever conceived of it happening! But the inference has to be that the shared rate applies.

    #126740
    arenton
    Participant

    Thanks for all your replies folks.

    I am definitely happy that these claims are Rent Officer cases and not LHA. We have referred to the rent officer and they have quoted –

    – £90.33 inclusive of full board (if over 35 etc)
    – £58.12 shared accommodation rate (if under 35)

    I would normally be happy to apply the shared accommodation rate- because regardless of whether they are in a twin room or single room- they are basically all sharing accommodation (ie they share a kitchen and bathroom- their accommodation is not self contained).

    My question really is – does it make any difference that they get meals and may be in a twin room?

    And the reason I’m asking is that I believe (maybe mistakenly!) that the rules seem to say that for the shared rate to apply they should have “exclusive use of one bedroom”, (and someone who shares a bedroom would perhaps not have “exclusive use” of that room?), and the rent ” ..does not include any payment for board and lodgings..”- (and these tenancies do include charges for meals).

    I just wanted to be sure that they should have the shared rate applied – or whether the way it is worded might give them a way round it. (the meals and “exclusive” use).

    Although come to think of it- I’m not sure why the rent officer has really seen fit to quote a “normal” valuation and then an under 35 valuation- because I’d have thought that if the shared rate should apply- then it should apply to all occupiers based on the “shared” nature of the accommodation- and the age of the occupiers would be irrelevant.

    i think I’m confusing myself even further now… help !

    #126771
    arenton
    Participant

    Okay thanks Andy,

    That is pretty much my opinion- but good to here someone shares it. I kind of hope they don’t appeal….

    Thanks again

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