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HB on 2 homes for fear of violence

Jessica Gilleran
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SERD - Southern Housing Group, London

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Total Posts: 5

Joined: 3 January 2012

Hi all,

a client has been moved by children’s social services due to a threat of violence and is housed by them elsewhere and LA are covering costs via HB.  HB paid on 2 homes for a period,  then at some point client has been told by social services to report she will not be returning home, she reports this to HB, then HB on 2 homes stops and an overpayment is created. There is an intention to return home if possible and she has not given her tenancy up, but is still housed in temp accommodation paid for by LA. she had to change benefits and claimed 2 homes via UC, they are paying for main residency whilst HB paying for 2nd temp home, thereby UC accepting that there is an intention to return home.

we have challenged HB overpayment on grounds there is an intention to return home, they have refused still and we have appealed. just wondering if anyone has experience of this or can point in direction of caselaw to support our appeal. HB argument is that the intention to return home has to be realisable, this can’t be proved either way currently but client would rather move home than be moved elsewhere.

thanks in advance

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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I think essentially you’ve got this but have a look at for some reassurance. Nice summary which also references the case law.

I’ve had these numerous times over the years and whilst occasionally it might turn on the realism of the intent in most cases it’s just about explaining the full circumstances to HB until the penny drops.

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Welfare rights adviser - Plumstead Community Law Centre

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I am concerned that you say she was “told ” by Social Services to say she was not returning

This raises two issues, one is that if Social Services are part of the same LA it is arguable (despite Hinchy) that the alleged overpayments are in consequence of the Council’s own official errors (CH/3586/2007, )

The other argument has perhaps already been aired but it can be argued that your client is not in any position to have a settled intention either way and that being the case you can argue by analogy with the case that was before the Court of Appeal in HAMMERSMITH & FULHAM LONDON BOROUGH COUNCIL v (1) ANDREW CLARKE (2) DONNA CLARKE (2000) CA (Civ Div)  20/11/2000 that your client must still be considered to be occupying her (normal) home

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