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temporary accomodation -  which definition?

 

dizzymare
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is there a gap between UC regulations and HB regulations when looking at temp accom?

Our LA has a small stock of self contained properties that they use to discharge a homeless duty. Prior to the changes earlier this year, HC were met via UC (albeit restricted to LHA rate). As I understand it the definition of temp accom for UC includes cases where:

(a)rent payments are payable to a local authority;
(b)the local authority makes the accommodation available to the renter—
(i)to discharge any of the local authority’s functions under Part 3 of the Housing Act 1985(9), Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996(10) or Part 2 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987(11), or
(ii)to prevent the person being or becoming homeless within the meaning of Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 or Part 2 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987; and
(c)the accommodation is not exempt accommodation

This appears to cover the situation where a person is homeless and assisted by the LA and placed in their accom on a temp basis.

However, since the change in April that people in temp accom cannot get HC included in their claim and must claim HB instead, the question has been raised as to whether HB can pay in these circumstances? do they need to use the HB definition of exempt accom? looking at the definition of exempt accommodation, im not sure it covers this situation. It seems all would be fine if the accom was a refuge or a hostel but the accommodation used is often a self contained flat or a house. The stock is LA and is given under a licence issued by the homeless team..

Has anything been put in place to cover this situation? it seems that we may have some people caught between the two benefits? or is our LA being a bit over cautious? can anyone shed any light on this please?

     
HB Anorak
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There are two HB definitions: one for bedroom tax exemption (chocolate fireguard in most cases) and another for subsidy. If neither of them applies, HB would be subject to the bedroom tax (in the unlikely event of spare rooms) but not the 2011 subsidy cap.

As to whether HB is payable at all, that is determined by the UC definition, via Article 7 of the No 23 Order and Regs 5 to 8 of the UC(TP) Regs.

     
Dan Manville
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HB can pay unless they can’t accept a claim by virtue of the UC Transitional Provisions; a person in Specified Accomodation is not precluded from claiming HB by virtue of reg 6(8); Specified Accom is either a hostel; which is owned by a “relevant body” or would be a hostel if it weren’t owed by a Local Authority.

The usual rules for HB apply if you’re not a UC claimant.

     
dizzymare
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Dan Manville - 26 September 2018 03:32 PM

HB can pay unless they can’t accept a claim by virtue of the UC Transitional Provisions; a person in Specified Accomodation is not precluded from claiming HB by virtue of reg 6(8); Specified Accom is either a hostel; which is owned by a “relevant body” or would be a hostel if it weren’t owed by a Local Authority.

The usual rules for HB apply if you’re not a UC claimant.

im not sure this is specified accom though; it isn’t a hostel. Its a house or flat which is self contained’; not provided by a relevant body either (we are an MBC) it isn’t provided as a result of DV (well not in all cases) so .... I can see where it fits the definition in UC; I can see the UC TP regs but this refers to specified accom; but then I cant see how this temp accom fits the definition of specified. 

I am probably being thick as I don’t work with HB all that much and know nothing about subsidy

     
HB Anorak
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If it temporary accommodation as defined for UC purposes, the charges are covered by HB and not UC.  That definition (in para 3B of Schedule 1 to the UC Regs) is the widest of the three definitions.  The accommodtion will be covered by that definition if it is provided by the Council or by a Housing Association for the purpose of the Council’s homelessness functions under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996.

That same definition is referred to by:

- Article 7 of the No 23 Commencement Order, which allows new HB claims to be made in full service areas by people in temporary accommodation, irrespective of whether they are on UC or not
- Reg 5 of the UC(TP) Regs 2014, which allows HB and UC to be awarded together where the HB is for temporary accommodation
- Reg 6 of the TP Regs, which allows new HB claims for temp acc by people who are already on UC or appealing the refusal of UC
- Reg 8 of the UC TP Regs, which says that HB does not stop when a person claims UC if the HB is for temporary accommodation.

That answers your initial question about whether there is a lacuna that means no-one will pay the housing costs: HB will pay the costs if it is temp acc as defined for UC purposes.

The next questions are how much HB will they get and who is ultimately funding it?

As to how much HB they will get, that depends whether either the bedroom tax or benefit cap applies.  There will be no bedroom tax if it satisfies the definition of temporary accommodation in HB Reg A13(4), which requires the accommodation to be held by the Council on a licence or a lease of no more than 10 years outside the HRA.  There will be no benefit cap if either the claimant is on UC, orthe accommodation also falls within the definition of specified accommodation (which it appears not to, so unless they get UC there could be a benefit cap depending on total benefit amount).

Finally, who picks up the tab?  If the accommodation falls within the definition of temp acc in Articles 17 and 17A of the Income Related Benefits (Subsidy to Authorities) Order 1998, subsidy is limited to an amount based on the 2011 LHA rates.  That definition is more or less the same as the bedroom tax one - licensed or leased up to 10 years.  If it is outside that definition, you have found the sweet spot: HB rather than UC, unlimited amount of HB and the government is paying.

     
Dan Manville
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dizzymare - 26 September 2018 04:39 PM

im not sure this is specified accom though; it isn’t a hostel. Its a house or flat which is self contained’; not provided by a relevant body either (we are an MBC)

 

I am looking at para 3A(5)(a) of schedule 1 to the UC regs that accepts accomodation “that would be a hostel within the meaning of para 29(10) of schedule 4… but for it being owned… by a local authority” as Specified Accomodation. I had overlooked the self contained house bit.

From the regs and thinking out loud…

Sch 4, para 29(10)

“hostel” means a building—

(a)
in which there is provided, for persons generally or for a class of persons, domestic accommodation, otherwise than in separate and self-contained premises, and either board or facilities for the preparation of food adequate to the needs of those persons, or both

Could the houses you describe; which presumably are let to mutliple diverse occupants, be described as “otherwise than in separate and self contained premises” I wonder. I can see something there although I’m struggling to crystallise it with Vivaldi playing in my ear…

True to say I’ve not read Peter’s contribution yet.

     
Dan Manville
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If you’ve got several unconnected people in one house I’d be arguing that a house share isn’t “separate and self contained”.

Edit: the killer, though, is that if HB don’t swallow it the only remedy is JR; they can’t accept a claim under which to make a decision against which you might appeal.

     
HB Anorak
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Just reading my contribution back to myself, it goes on a bit so let me condense it:

There is no lacuna: if UC won’t cover it, HB will - same definition applies.  I cannot see what is worrying the Council at all.

     
dizzymare
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Thank you both - not sure why they are either but just wanted to be prepared for if they refused to pay. Very clear response thank you

     
MartinB
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dizzymare - 26 September 2018 02:39 PM

is there a gap between UC regulations and HB regulations when looking at temp accom?

In theory no. After April 11th 2018, UC claimants moving into a homeless temp, and those who already are in.. but have had a relevant change of rent or service charge, have been claiming HB rather than housing costs.

Providing the DWP and the LA jointly know who is in the Homeless Temp accommodation (DWP are in receipt of a regularly updated list of properties) and the claimants are also aware…..there should be (err) no problem.   

Clearly there are some practical problems as already there are a number of threads on RN. 

 

     
dizzymare
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seems they are concerned about the fact that the HB regs haven’t been repealed so are considering if they need to refer to the definition for HB.

However, following guidance from helpful people here,  I have pointed out that as far as I can see it is quite clear that the amendment to the no 23 order refers specifically to HB claims for people in temporary accommodation, and that it also inserts a definition (which is the same as for UC)

still awaiting feedback but hopefully will be resolved shortly

     
HB Anorak
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Perhaps a simple way to explain it to them would be to say that Article 7 of the No 23 Order is about whether HB can be paid, and the definitions in the HB Regs and Subsidy Order are concerned with how much HB is paid and how it’s funded.

     
MartinB
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My understanding is that all of this is a “Short Term Fix” see HB Circular A2/2018

The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and DWP are now working together on developing a series of potential long term options. 

1. UC to pay for all TA.
2. UC to pay for all TA other than emergency accommodation (to be defined), along with a grant pot to cover emergency accommodation. 
3. A grant pot for local authorities to administer to cover all types of TA costs, with either MHCLG or DWP responsible for making allocations to councils.
4. Retain HB or develop a similar benefit.

The long term solution will be announced in early 2019…..........

     
bristol_1
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Just a quick query -
Am I right in thinking that a UC claimant would need to claim HB for housing costs for a domestic violence refuge, even where there is no care and support provided, because of UC Regs 2013 - Sched 1 para 3A para (4)?
This is a case where an earlier HB decision paid HB only at the LHA rate due to evidence that no support received in the refuge. HB then stopped due to a capital issue but capital can now be disregarded; so should client actually make a new HB claim for the housing costs, rather than UC HCE?

     
HB Anorak
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Yes, HB - assuming refuge is provided by a non profit body.

The reason for that limb of the definition being there is to cover cases where there is a doubt about support. It’s HB but limited to LHA or LRR (depending on meals/facilities)

     
bristol_1
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Indeed - in this case no support is being provided, but there may be a dispute as to whether HB or UC should pay, as tenants have been there for a long time and it might be considered that it has become their ordinary private rented accommodation as it may not meet the criteria of being ‘non-permanent’... I am thinking to advise protective claims for both UC HCE and HB.