Unnecessary Liabilities

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    Can anymore confirm if we are allowed to restrict rent (not necessarily turn down under Reg 7 as contrived) under the following circumstances and if so under which Reg.

    A claimant is adequately housed by a Housing Association and receives £55 per week Housing Benefit. They submit a new claim in a more ‘desireable’ area where the private rent is £85.00 per week.
    There would appear to be no reason for the move other than ‘to a nicer neighbourhood’. The Rent Officer states that the rent is not an unreasonable rent.

    Can the amount of HB that we pay be restricted to £55 per week, if so under what grounds?

    Any guidance would be appreciated.


    I don’t think the HB regs impose that sort of thinking on the individual. The clmnt is under no particular duty to save money from the public purse in that way. So long as the rent officer thinks the rent is reasonable then that’s protection enough.

    Did you used to do HB in North Korea? 😀

    [Please God I’m only joking – no flame wars needed]

    Kevin D

    Forgetting the moral arguments, [b:84d16c58f4]HBR 12(7)[/b:84d16c58f4] potentially allows an LA to restrict the rent below the level set by the Rent Officer.

    One piece of case law where this was at issue is:

    [b:84d16c58f4]R v Macclesfield BC HBRB ex p TEMSAMANI (1999) EWHC Admin 168 QBD[/b:84d16c58f4]

    (available from http://www.bailii.org )



    You can restrict…

    But why would you even think about it?

    People are free to roam and rent wherever they want etc. lecture over…

    However, we must all have thought at some point, “why do you move so often?”. We dilligently process the multiple changes of circs and then just when the dust settles, you move again, twice, in one week! aaaah!

    Somebody said on this forum before that we spend 80% of the time processing 20% of the caseload and that was when we still dealt with benefit periods etc.


    I (and felllow work colleagues) just find it annoying that people manage to worm there way round the system.

    We are getting more and more claims where a property has been purchased to rent out specifically to a son/daughter, there is no intention to rent it out to anyone else. The parents ensure that a tenancy agreement is signed and they would evict them if they did not pay the rent when in reality they would never evict them.

    Surely we have a duty to protect the public purse and not ‘buy’ houses for claimants?

    Andy Thurman

    Bad Boy,
    I don’t think you & your colleagues are alone in your concerns but this is a different issue to your original post.
    The amount of the rent being charged (& approved by RO) is one issue, possible contrivance is another.

    If the tenancy has been created to take advantage of HB, Reg 9 should be used to treat as not liable (for full amount of rent). Unless you can prove this (and we all know that can be very difficult), I don’t think you can justify any restriction below RO figures.


    I agree with Andy the two posts are seperate issues. But going back to the orignal question posed.

    ‘They submit a new claim in a more ‘desireable’ area where the private rent is £85.00 per week.’There would appear to be no reason for the move other than ‘to a nicer neighbourhood’. The Rent Officer states that the rent is not an unreasonable rent.

    If the rent officer has agreed that the rent is reasonable who are we to judge were a person is to live.

    To restrict someones rent because they wish to move to a more desireable area is the strangest notion I have ever come across.

    Would you want your sons, daughters, grand children growing up in some of the areas within your respective cities. Would you not want them to try and move to a better part of town if they could.

    What are we to do next….. Tell them they cant shop at Tescos because Aldi’s is cheaper.


    Isn’t this issue partly what LHA was originally supposed to be about?

    Wasn’t one of the selling points to do with giving the claimants the choice of living where they wanted to but knowing beforehand what their HB entitlement would be calculated on.

    If they chose to live somewhere ‘nice’ then they may have to find the extra but if they lived somewhere ‘not so nice’ they could buy the kids new trainers.

    And £85 a week would be [i:aae7216480]extremely [/i:aae7216480]cheap in my neck of the woods!


    Surely it is a function of the CRR/LRR system that the claimant’s rent for HB can never be more than the average for the locality – if they try to “upmarket” themselves to a smart neighbourhood or vicinity, the LRR will cap their benefit at the average for the wider locality.

    So your claimant’s £85 must be no more than average for suitably sized accommodation in the locality. Personally I would only suggest even thinking about invoking Reg 12(7) in a maximum rent case if you have got a maverick RO valuation which you can plainly see is out of keeping with the normal LRR limit for the locality.

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