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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Covid-19 issues  →  Thread

housing costs and UC

SueACU
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ACU - Runnymede and Spelthorne Citizens Advice

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Not sure if anyone can throw some light on something I keep seeing. I work for one of the acting charities and am helping with administration of one of the funds set up to help people in the theatre/ acting world. As part of the process I am doing a quick check to make sure their benefits look ok. I have started to see a few cases where the person is a joint tenant in a shared house but in addition to dividing up the rent between the number of joint tenants and applying shared room rate ( because they are under 35) UC are also making 3 non dependant deductions where there are 4 tenants and yet there do not appear to be any non dependants- only the 4 joint tenants. I am suggesting people get their benefits checked but am starting to wonder if it is a glitch in the system- would be interested to know if anyone has come across this before ?
Thanks Sue

Va1der
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Welfare Rights Officer with SWAMP Glasgow

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Are each of the tenants liable to pay rent?

Ianb
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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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SueACU - 15 August 2020 07:54 PM

Not sure if anyone can throw some light on something I keep seeing. I work for one of the acting charities and am helping with administration of one of the funds set up to help people in the theatre/ acting world. As part of the process I am doing a quick check to make sure their benefits look ok. I have started to see a few cases where the person is a joint tenant in a shared house but in addition to dividing up the rent between the number of joint tenants and applying shared room rate ( because they are under 35) UC are also making 3 non dependant deductions where there are 4 tenants and yet there do not appear to be any non dependants- only the 4 joint tenants. I am suggesting people get their benefits checked but am starting to wonder if it is a glitch in the system- would be interested to know if anyone has come across this before ?
Thanks Sue

It’s possible they have completed their claim incorrectly.

If they are joint tenants they will say so as part of the claim process and each will be treated as liable for their share of the rent.

There is then a question about whether anyone else lives with you. The claimant must not include any joint tenants when answering this question. Unfortunately some claimants misunderstand this and do list the joint tenants. So for UC purposes there now appear to be 7 people living in the house, the 4 joints tenants plus 3 other people. These 3 ‘other’ people are expected to contribute.

Claimant needs to post a note explaining that there are only the 4 people named as joint tenants living in the property and ask for their entitlement to be recalculated.

[ Edited: 16 Aug 2020 at 09:22 pm by Ianb ]
SueACU
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ACU - Runnymede and Spelthorne Citizens Advice

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Thanks, yes they are all joint tenants liable for rent, I was worried because it kept cropping up that UC had glitched and there was a blanket mistake. I will suggest a post clarifying the position-  maybe things need to be clearer if lots of people are making the same mistake on the forms.

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

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If UC is assuming there are three additional non deps living with the four joint tenants, three of the awards should have the 2B LHA rate, or 1/4 of the full rent, rather than being limited to the shared rate.  Suggests a different explanation? Unless the 2B LHA in those circumstances is not system generated and requires officer knowledge, in which case the claimant’s mistake is being compounded by a DWP mistake.

Va1der
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Welfare Rights Officer with SWAMP Glasgow

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How are the tenants entering their rent? I can’t remember if UC asks specifically if you’re in a flatshare (or if it does you could misread the question).
If not they could just be entering their individual rent, in a 4 bed flat, with 3 non-dependants.

Ianb
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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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HB Anorak - 17 August 2020 10:54 AM

If UC is assuming there are three additional non deps living with the four joint tenants, three of the awards should have the 2B LHA rate, or 1/4 of the full rent, rather than being limited to the shared rate.  Suggests a different explanation? Unless the 2B LHA in those circumstances is not system generated and requires officer knowledge, in which case the claimant’s mistake is being compounded by a DWP mistake.

Good point, that does suggest my possible explanation is incorrect. Could just be DWP error.

Coastal
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Welfare Reform Manager, Coastal Housing Group

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I’ve seen this many times where there are two or more claims within a household. Always been a DWP error and a difficult job in correcting.

Mkfiftyeight
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Benefit Advisor, HARC East Sussex

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Something else to look out for is sometimes non dependent deductions are made for the same non dependent from each joint tenant. That should not happen because in UC when there is a joint tenancy, a non-dependant can only be linked to one Universal Credit award.

Auntie Audrey
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Universal Support, Greenwich Council

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Thanks for this tip