Tents – an urban legend?

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    It is often said that HB will not pay for camp site fees where the claimant lives in a tent. This is actually included in the Guidance Manual:


    Is this one of those benefits urban myths? As far as I can see there is nothing in the legislation that actively excludes tents from HB. Reg 11(2) excludes payments that are covered by the claimant’s IS/JSA applicable amount, which could apply to tents, but then it could also apply to shared ownership charges as well if the DWP got there first.

    From the position of this item in the Guidance Manual, I assume DWP’s line of thinking here is that special provision has been made for mobile home site fees to be covered, so in the absence of something similar for tents they are not included in the list of eligible payments. If they’re not in, they’re out must be the conclusion.

    But is this enough? In CH/3110/2003 the Commissioner dealt with a permanent holiday chalet on a site where the claimant owned the structure but rented the plot on which it stood. The Commissioner agreed that Reg 12(1)(g) didn’t cover it, because the chalet was not a caravan or a mobile home, but he said Reg 12(1)(g) was a belt-and-braces provision for the avoidance of doubt and the site fees would come under the general heading of “rent” in Reg 12(1)(a). Could the same be said for tents I wonder?

    Can anyone think of another reason why tents should be excluded from HB?


    I got a response from the Adelphi once about HB and tents…

    [quote:292479357f]There is no specific provision to deny Housing Benefit toward the rent on a tent. It seems possible that the regulations are based on the assumption that this doesn’t happen. However there are provisions within both IS and income based JSA that allows help to be given for “payments in respect of the tent and the site on which it stands”, like HB this depends on tent being the dwelling they occupy as their home. There are precedents for housing costs being specifically excluded from HB because help is available through IS. Although the humble tent is not specifically mentioned it is arguably that the same logic should apply. [/quote:292479357f]

    Home visits would be cosy…


    I’ve been searching the archives and I can see that this has been discussed several times before, here’s a good example:


    So as well as Reg 12(1)(a), there are a couple of other types of eligible payment that you might shoehorn camp site fees into.

    But the past discussions do seem to confirm that nothing anywhere positively says you cannot get HB for a tent – it seems to come down to a view of Reg 12(1) and s130 that these payments are not specifically prescribed as payments in respect of a dwelling that attract HB, whereas the counter-argument is that at least one and maybe three of the more general headings in Reg 12(1) would cover it.

    So that’s where things stand is it? No definitive answer one way or the other?

    PS Thanks Richard, I was posting at the same time as you


    I agree it is a myth – one of those throwaway lines in the early guidance that was reprinted.

    The dictionary defines a tent as ‘a portable shelter usually of canvas or other cloth stretched over poles or supports and fastened to the ground with pegs and ropes’.

    In a number of Commissioner decisions, the judgement has reminded of the basic reason for the HB scheme; to provide shelter to those who would otherwise be homeless. Therefore, as DWP confirm “there is no specific provision to deny Housing Benefit toward the rent on a tent”, I see no reason not to pay HB provided other rules are met.

    I presume you could argue that if the costs are met by DWP via
    IS/JSA there is no liability left to cover.

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