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Housing Benefit Social Sector tenants

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  1. Housing Benefit Social Sector tenants Under Occupancy April 2013 Julie Luckman

  2. Draft regulations • Subject to Parliamentary approval • Regulations debated in both houses September/October • Affects tenants of a local authority, registered provider of social housing, registered housing association or other registered social landlord

  3. April 2013 • Will affect working age only • Does not affect those who have met age to qualify for state pension credit (claimant or partner) • Age to qualify for state pension credit is 60 if born before 6.4.1950 and thereafter between age 60 and 66

  4. Size criteria will apply in same way as tenants in private rented sector • One bedroom for each of: • Couple • 16 years and over (child, lodger, non-dependant) • Two children of the same sex • Two children under 10 (of either sex) • Any other child (unless a foster child or whose main home elsewhere) • Carer (non resident carer or group of carers)

  5. Disabled children • Court of appeal judgement on Burnip, Trengrove and Gorry case relevant • Out come was that severely disabled children should not be expected to share a room • We have to take account of nature and severity of disability, frequency of care during night and extent of disturbance of other child who may normally be expected to share

  6. Rent (excluding ineligible service charge) will be reduced by : 14% for under-occupation by one bedroom 25% for under- occupation by two bedrooms or more

  7. Example 1 • Rent is £80 of which £5 is for an ineligible service charge • Eligible Rent is £75 • Household consists of single parent and her son age 9 and daughter age 3 • They live in a 3 bedroom property • They are under-occupying by 1 bedroom • £75 reduced by 14% = £64.50 used as Eligible Rent in HB calculation

  8. Example 2 • Rent is £100 which includes no ineligible service charges • Eligible Rent is £100 • Household consists of single person • They live in a 3 bedroom property • They are under-occupying by 2 bedrooms • £100 reduced by 25% = £75 used as Eligible Rent in HB calculation

  9. Joint tenants • Under-occupancy for joint tenants calculated as any other • Based on the number of occupants as a whole, regardless of how house is divided • Under-occupancy formula applied before rent apportioned between joint tenants

  10. Example 3 • Eligible Rent is £180 • Joint tenancy between two sisters • One sister is single the other is a lone parent with one child • They live in a 4 bedroom property • They are under-occupying by 1 bedroom • £180 reduced by 14% = £154.80 is then apportioned at 50% as Eligible Rent in the HB calculation • Sister with child may argue this is unfair – however under-occupancy applicable to whole house

  11. Tenancy agreement • Bedroom size is not defined in legislation • We will use what is described on the tenancy agreement (i.e. the basis of the rent charge) • If there are disputes we will inspect customers’ homes as well as view tenancy agreements

  12. Exempt from the under occupancy regulations: • Shared ownership properties • Site charges for caravans and mobile homes • Mooring charges • Temporary accommodation (accepted as homeless under housing act and placed by local authority) • Supported “exempt” accommodation – care, support or supervision provided by landlord or some one acting on landlord’s behalf

  13. Protected • New HB claims protected from under-occupancy for: • 13 weeks if able to meet rent obligation when entered into it (unless received HB in past 52 weeks) • Up to 12 months if household member dies • If a death occurs in home with existing HB award the existing Eligible Rent is not reduced for up to 12 months

  14. Discretionary Housing Payment • We will receive additional Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) funding • Government expect priority to be given to two groups: disabled people living in properties adapted for disablement needs and foster carers (including those between placements) • We will be mindful of those reaching pension credit age or have requested re-housing (& not refused it) • Open to ideas from landlords

  15. Data sharing • Regulations have been made which allows data sharing to identify those affected • There are no Data Protection issues in you providing us with data on the number of bedrooms for your properties in our area • There are no Data Protection issues in us providing you with data on your affected tenants

  16. What we need from you • We will ask you to provide number of bedrooms in your properties • We will match this with the information we hold • We will provide you with return data to enable you to understand who is affected (software for this due end of August) • The legislation does not compel you to provide us with information, however we want to work in the best interests of your tenants • This will enable you to provide help and advice to your affected tenants

  17. Cont.. • Where possible identify accommodation which is “supported” or shared ownership – as it is exempt • Where possible identify accommodation that has been adapted for disablement needs – it will help us to identify those for DHP

  18. Report to us • If you believe we have made an error either with the number of bedrooms or the number of occupiers please email me at Julie.luckman@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk • If claimants have failed to tell us of changes to numbers in household our records will be wrong

  19. What next ? • Once legislation approved in September/October we will notify all claimants affected • We will ask claimants to tell us if information we hold incorrect • In March we will notify them of their revised entitlement from April 2013 • We hope to be able to send you a data return at this time

  20. Any questions?