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Housing costs - 2 homes

Tara CAC
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Children's Centre Project: Citizens Advice Cornwall

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I understand the principle of housing costs for 2 homes but cannot work out how it would apply in practice for my clients circumstances.

Due to incorrect info from both UC and LA HB client is understandably concerned that it will go wrong.

Circumstances are:
Client lived in social housing in LA1 with HB and legacy benefits (single claim)

Due to DV from ex partner police moved client to refuge in LA2 - client claimed new HB (exempt accommodation) with LA2.

LA1 agreed to continue HB for her home for 52wks (as client intends to return)

Due to further violence (still from ex and associates) the refuge found client private accommodation in LA3 so client moved in and applied for HB.

LA3 HB stated she’d need to claim UC for help with housing costs and that would end her help with her OLD home as (and I quote) she ‘cannot be liable for rent for 2 homes’ smh

Previous adviser contacted VCL who originally stated it was not possible to get help with housing costs for 2 home - once corrected she spoke to someone at the service centre who explained she’d need to make a claim for both homes through UC, which would end help from LA1 for OLD property, THEN UC would assess whether they could pay for both - based on a case by case basis but it’s a 50/50 chance it would be granted. smh

Unable to contact LA HB to get further info until tomorrow

Question:
if claiming UC for the NEW property she lives, would it be UC or LA1 who’d be responsible for paying for the OLD home?

Would contact be needed with LA1 to prevent the stop notice from impacting that award?

How would the calculations work if UC pay both homes where one is social housing and the other is private?

I understand it’s essentially dependant on individual circumstances but is there a way to determine success before UC claim ends the OLD home award with LA1?

Can LA1 continue via DHP if UC refuse?

To make matters worse client has moved to a high rent area so would need to pay the £800pm rent from her IS, CB and CTC (for 4 children) which is not feasible (only been here 3wks so next rent is due soon) so need to find solution ASAP

HB Anorak
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Benefits consultant/trainer - hbanorak.co.uk, East London

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SMH indeed.

Correct answer I think is that a claim for UC in LA3 will end entitlement to HB in LA1 two weeks later, because a UC claim terminates any HB award that is not for temp/supported accommodation and no-one can be entitled to HB and UC at the same time unless the HB is for temporary/supported accommodation which neither 1 nor 3 is (Regs 5 and 8 of UC(TP) Regs 2014).  But UC ought to cover both: para 6 of Schedule 3 - as long as there is an intention to return to property 1 (as I assume there must be, otherwise (i) HB wouldn’t be paying it and (ii) she would have given it up by now).

Two housing elements are added to the maximum UC amount, one calculated under social sector rules and the other under LHA rules, so the means test only deducts the claimant’s income once from the total amount.  See para 19 of Schedule 4.

DHP - some local authorities might buy that, although it gets complicated when the two homes are in different local authority areas.  It really shouldn’t be necessary though if UC handle it properly.

Interestingly, the way I read Schedule 3, the claimant is starting with a clean slate for UC purposes and could receive two housing elements for 12 months from now - not the balance of 12 months less however long it’s been going on already.

Elliot Kent
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I think its correct the she will end up claiming UC which will stop notice the HB on property one and then UC will potentially pay for both.

The calculation is just a case of adding up the two HCEs and including this in the total award before any deductions.

It might not matter though as I imagine she will be capped.

Whilst I am perhaps naive to some of the issues here, does she not need to think about whether sustaining property one is feasible particularly as she has now taken on a new tenancy (presumably at least six or twelve months plus).

Elliot Kent
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HB Anorak - 24 June 2020 07:15 PM

SMH indeed.

We need to fix the rota!

Tara CAC
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Children's Centre Project: Citizens Advice Cornwall

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Thanks for the replies

I didn’t even think about the cap…........ so there’s no exemption due to circumstances of DV?

Cl intends to move back eventually - only spoken to her briefly but previous notes are very clear on that.

Due to the cap would the DHP for OLD property via LA1 (located in LA1) be an option?

Tara CAC
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Children's Centre Project: Citizens Advice Cornwall

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any suggestions?

Va1der
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Welfare Support Worker - Community Renewal Edinburgh

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Funding for DHPs has been specifically aimed at domestic abuse cases affected by the benefit cap and being liable for two homes, don’t see why that wouldn’t apply in your case.

You might find the DHP guidance manual useful: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/discretionary-housing-payments-guidance-manual