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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Housing costs  →  Thread

UC Housing cost if no tenancy agreement

Elin
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Tîm Lles / Welfare Team - GrŵP Cynefin, North Wales

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Hi - I am currently working with the siblings of one of our tenant, who recently, sadly passed away. I’m wondering if you could advise me on the following situation.

The tenant had 2 children, one of age 24 (who works full time) and the other who is 18 - whom she was claiming Child benefit for as she is in non-advance education.

We believe that the tenancy will succeed to the youngest child as the eldest has not lived at the home long enough.

We have looked at the youngest claiming the UC herself + the Housing cost and her brother would be classed as a non-dependant on her clam.

However, when looking at the different options, I have been trying to find out if the oldest child (who was claiming child benefit for his sister as a dependant child),  could claim the Housing cost under UC,  if his name is not on the tenancy? 

I would be very grateful for any advice on this matter

Thanks in advance

Dan Manville
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Mental health & welfare rights service - Wolverhampton City Council

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Have a look at parapgraph 2 of schedule 2 to the UC regulations.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/376/schedule/2

[ Edited: 19 Nov 2019 at 02:36 pm by Dan Manville ]
Elliot Kent
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This is a bit of a messy situation. I think first of all, that there should be some discussion about what is to happen with the property. Even if it is the case that the sister will be succeeding, there is no reason why there couldn’t be agreement between all three parties that some other arrangement is reached - e.g. a new joint tenancy being started.

The situation is also complicated because you say that the brother is already claiming Child Benefit for the sister which suggests he has taken responsibility for her. So I wonder if he is considered a person “acting in place of a parent” which would then exclude the possibility of the sister claiming UC.

If he is responsible for her, then under para 1(1)(a) of Schedule 2 to the UC Regs, he can be treated as though liable for her housing costs. So, in that case, it wouldn’t matter who is the tenant as it would be for him to claim UC HCE (subject to his earnings).

But if we assume that is not the case:
(1) If the brother is the sole tenant, then he can claim UC (subject to his earnings) and get the HCE with no HCC (as sister is under 21)
(2) If the sister is the sole tenant, then she can claim UC and get the HCE with a HCC.
(3) If they are joint tenants, then the brother can claim half the rent (subject to his earnings) and the sister can claim the other half with neither subject to a HCC.

So a whole bunch of better off calculations to be done…

At least that is what I think. It is a messy case and its late so I could have missed something or gotten something wrong…

[ Edited: 20 Nov 2019 at 07:46 am by Elliot Kent ]
Timothy Seaside
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Housing services - Arun District Council

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I started to write a reply to this yesterday but quickly realised it was going to take too long due to the issues Elliot has mentioned. Looking at the timings of Elliot’s posts I can see I’m not dedicated enough to this forum!

I would agree that you need to look at what are the options for the tenancy - whether succession or a new tenancy (possibly joint).

I think it’s important to look very carefully at the question of whether she has parental support. As Elliot says, any of the options that involve the sister claiming UC is only available to the extent that she does not have parental support (see Reg 8(3) & Reg 14 UC Regs). I would suggest that if the brother has been receiving HB for her then he has been “acting in the place of a parent”. This actually gives some certainty with the UC HC because he would be able to include it all in his UC claim with no HCC whether he is the sole tenant, a joint tenant, or not a tenant at all.

Daphne
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Timothy Seaside - 20 November 2019 12:41 PM

Looking at the timings of Elliot’s posts I can see I’m not dedicated enough to this forum!

We’ll certainly be monitoring you Timothy and hope to see a marked improvement ;)

Elin
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Tîm Lles / Welfare Team - GrŵP Cynefin, North Wales

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Thank you all for you comment - it is a messy situation!.

The brother was going to claim the child benefit as he wanted to be responsible for his sister - and I think that he thought he would of been allocated the tenancy, and then claim UC himself and of course the HC.

If he has claimed child benefit for her, I do understand that this will have to stop if she wishes to claim Universal Credit in her own name.

I will have to speak to the Housing Officer to see what the options are with regards to awarding a sole tenancy or possibly a joint tenancy???

Nothing has been confirmed as yet, however the information you have all provided will help me give them different options to think about, and how we move forward with supporting them., during this very difficult time.

Thank you very much

SamW
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I think my reading of it is pretty much the same as Elliot’s - the only small thing that I would add (which may well have been implicit in his advice) would be that when you run the better-off checks his UC assessment will not just include a housing costs element but also a child element for his sister.