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UC Housing Costs

Bcfu
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Blackpool Centre For Unemployed

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Hi

Apologies another UC HCE question (seem to have an influx of them at the moment!)

Client has an appeal in a couple of weeks and we’ve just agreed to represent them as the original organisation is unable to do so.

Whilst I’m waiting for the appeal bundle, I want to start writing our submission so would be grateful for any pointers in doing so - I know the legislation from WRA on Housing Costs but don’t know any major caselaw, is there any that you think will help my client circumstances (outlined below). I’m hoping to win the panel over with a “common sense view” but good to have a back-up

Essentially, the DWP have refused to pay HCE for the passed 6 months due to discrepancies with the dates in our clients tenancy agreement. The first couple had the wrong dates on the tenancy start and end date - some of them client crossed dates out and re-did the correct dates which the DWP did not accept. The last tenancy agreement has the correct start month/day but the landlord has written 1983 then wrote on the top 2023 which the DWP are refusing to accept.

Landlord has written a covering note explaining the year was wrong and has been corrected - DWP refused saying this could have been written by anyone.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Adam

Elliot Kent
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Shelter

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On the face of it, the issue in your case is whether or not your client had a liability for rent at the decision date.

There are no specific formalities required to create a rental liability (at least providing that the agreement is for a market rent, a term of no more than 3 years and it takes effect immediately). So the issue is likely to be an evidential one - does the material establish that your client is telling the truth that he lives at the property and is liable to pay rent for doing so.

It’s unclear how dates being crossed out etc. could have any significant relevance to ongoing entitlement to housing costs. Perhaps if it were being used to support an entitlement to the costs for some past period, there might be questions raised as to whether the amendments reflected the genuine agreement of the parties or were added surreptitiously after the fact.

Bcfu
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Blackpool Centre For Unemployed

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Joined: 9 July 2020

Elliot Kent - 04 December 2023 10:35 AM

On the face of it, the issue in your case is whether or not your client had a liability for rent at the decision date.

There are no specific formalities required to create a rental liability (at least providing that the agreement is for a market rent, a term of no more than 3 years and it takes effect immediately). So the issue is likely to be an evidential one - does the material establish that your client is telling the truth that he lives at the property and is liable to pay rent for doing so.

It’s unclear how dates being crossed out etc. could have any significant relevance to ongoing entitlement to housing costs. Perhaps if it were being used to support an entitlement to the costs for some past period, there might be questions raised as to whether the amendments reflected the genuine agreement of the parties or were added surreptitiously after the fact.

Thanks for this Elliot.

Our client does have other evidence which has/is being submitted to prove he lives at the property including a letter from his Probation Officer from when it was transferred over to their office (they completed Welfare Checks etc on the property).

The crossing out of dates wasn’t for a past period but simply the on-going period - having seen the documents its quite clear the wrong year was written by mistake and correctly immediately!

Elliot Kent
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Evidence of the liability would also be helpful - e.g. bank statements showing him paying the rent to the landlord.