3-bedroom rate for child with DLA but actually in 2-bed house
This is probably a silly question… One of our clients recently granted refugee status has miraculously found a two bed in her area to rent which isn’t too far above the 2-bed LHA rate. Her household is her and her two children, one of whom has the high rate of the DLA care component, and so it could be argued that she needs the 3-bed rate, if the council were agree to this. However I’m thinking that that argument would probably be moot, given that the flat she’s found to rent isn’t actually a 3-bed, but a 2-bed (which is the best she could find, despite the child with DLA ideally needing his own room).
Any thoughts appreciated! Thanks.
I have successfully argued and got into payment the 3 bed rate on a 2 bed property (disabled child, couldn’t share with sibling, mum slept on the sofa in the living room). The regs only make reference to the number of rooms you are deemed to need, not how many you actually have in reality (I think it’s schedule 4 of the UC regs 2013 off the top of my head). Note that this is the case for UC but not for HB, which if memory serves me requires you to actually have the extra room.
I hope this helps
Thanks so much, I was really hoping it might be like that (i.e. like how you can get the one-bed rate if you’re over 35 or otherwise exempt, even if you’re only renting a room).
Out of interest, how do you usually go about requesting/arguing the extra 3-bed? Does this go via UC, if it’s them that would be paying the housing costs, and what evidence do you need other than the child’s DLA award?
I just drafted something for the client to put on their journal, making reference to the relevant regs about additional bedrooms and setting out the child’s behaviours/needs at night that mean it is not possible for them to share with their sibling.
This is an excerpt from one such request, making reference to the relevant regs:
I would therefore request that you reconsider the decision and make an award of the housing costs element on my claim at the 3 bedroom LHA rate. Links to the relevant statutory provisions are below:
Schedule 4 of the UC Regulations 2013: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/376/schedule/4
Regulation 6 of the HB and UC (Size Criteria)(Miscellaneous Amendments 2017): https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/213/pdfs/uksi_20170213_en.pdf
Although we live in a 2 bedroom property, the actually physical layout of the property is clearly not relevant to a determination of the appropriate LHA rate under the UC regulations (as amended). The LHA rate payable is based solely on need as determined by household composition: paragraph 8 of Schedule 4 refers to a determination as to ‘the category of accommodation which it is reasonable for the renter to occupy, having regard to the number of persons who are members of the renter’s extended benefit unit’.
While neither the HB Regs nor the UC Regs say in terms that the child must have its own bedroom, I think this is perhaps implied by the requirement that the child is not reasonably able to share a room with another child. If the claimant chooses accommodation where the child has to share a bedroom with another child, that seems to me to be a relevant factor when judging whether or not the child is reasonably able to share. In the case that kicked off the thread, this could still be satisfied in a two-bed property in any of the following ways:
- the children have a bedroom each and the parent sleeps in the living room
- the parent shares a bedroom with the other child
- the parent shares a bedroom with the disabled child, on the basis that providing night time care and having disturbed sleep is something a parent might have to cope with, but not a sibling.