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  • FIRST POST
    anastasia666
    Housing Benefit - More Questions!
    • #1
    • 4th Sep 12, 2:31 PM
    Housing Benefit - More Questions! 4th Sep 12 at 2:31 PM
    Hi, I'm hoping someone may be able to give me a little more help. I got loads of really good advice last week, which was much appreciated!

    Bascially, my husband and I have separated. He is still living in the house that I own (mortgaged, just my name on the mortgage). He has just received confirmation that he will be getting contributions based ESA, and so now we are going to start looking to see if he can find a place to rent.

    My question, having looked on the website to get info on housing benefit entitlement, is this: will his legal entitlement to 50% of the house be classed as an asset that he needs to declare when applying for housing benefit? And if so, presumably this will mean that he cannot get any housing benefit and we will need to sell the house or sort out the financial aspects (which I wasn't really wanting to do just yet)?

    He won't be able to apply for housing benefit until he has found somewhere to rent, but I don't think it's a good idea to go through the process of trying to find somewhere, only to find that he cannot afford to live there anyway. I'm confused as the CAB woman we saw last week said if he gets ESA he would get housing and countil tax benefit. But that's only true if he got income based ESA, not contributions based (which she knew was what he was applying for).

    I'm just confused about how our situation, with us being married and me owning the house, impacts on all of this. I really didn't want to have to divorce and sort out the financial stuff just yet, in case we got back together eventually.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Whilst I can help out in the short term, I cannot afford to pay his rent and my mortgage every month!
Page 1
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 5th Sep 12, 6:27 PM
    • 12,457 Posts
    • 14,243 Thanks
    pmlindyloo
    • #2
    • 5th Sep 12, 6:27 PM
    • #2
    • 5th Sep 12, 6:27 PM
    Have found this for you which seems to suggest that the capital in the home may be disregarded for a time:

    Property you own but do not occupy [HB Sch 6, HB(SPC) Sch 6; CTB Sch 5, CTB(SPC) Sch 4]

    The value of this property is counted as capital but you may be able to get HB/CTB even if the value of the property means that your savings are more than £16,000. This is because the value of the property may be ignored when your savings are worked out, in certain circumstances.
    If the property is occupied by an elderly or disabled relative as their home, its value is not taken into account for as long as it is so occupied.
    If you have recently acquired the property and you intend to occupy it as your home, its value may not be counted for 26 weeks, or for a longer period if reasonable, from the date you acquired it.
    If you are trying to sell the property, its value may not be counted for the first 26 weeks after you start doing this. It may not be counted for longer than this if you are finding it difficult to sell the property.
    If you are carrying out essential repairs or alterations so that you can live in the property, its value may not be counted for a period of 26 weeks from the date you first arranged for repairs to be carried out. It may not be counted for longer than this if you are finding it difficult to finish the work.
    If you are taking legal action so that you can live in the property, its value may not be counted for the first 26 weeks after you start doing this. It may not be counted for longer than this if legal action is continuing and you cannot live in the property.
    If you have left the property after the breakdown of a relationship, and it is occupied by your former partner, its value may not be counted for the first 26 weeks after you left. If the property is occupied by your former partner and they are a lone parent, the property will not be counted for as long as it continues to be so occupied.


    You need to speak to the council re: housing benefit and council tax benefit and explain the circumstances. Hopefully they should advice you of the local housing allowance that your ex. is entitled to and then he can look for somewhere at this monthly rent. Of course he can find somewhere more expensive but he would be expected to 'top up' the difference himself.

    If they disregard this potential capital then it will give you time to come to an arrangement about the house. You will probably need a solicitor for this but it would be helpful to discuss it first.


    Hope this helps.
  • anastasia666
    • #3
    • 6th Sep 12, 1:16 PM
    • #3
    • 6th Sep 12, 1:16 PM
    Thanks very much. I rang the relevant department who deal with housing benefit and explained the situation and they said that as the house is in my name only, they wouldn't take this into account. I'm hoping this is correct as I'd read the 26 weeks things too. Although at least having that length of time would give us some breathing space to see if we could salvage the relationship at all, and if not then I guess sell the house or I'd have to take out a loan for whatever equity he's entitled to.

    Having looked around at the house prices in the local area, I'm not convinced there's as much equity in there as I'd originally thought! So there's a chance he'd be under the £16,000 limit anyway. I'm not sure how you go about valuing the house though in these circumstances. At the moment this all seems like such a huge and exhausting mountain to climb!
  • CAB Wyre Forest representative
    • #4
    • 6th Sep 12, 2:28 PM
    • #4
    • 6th Sep 12, 2:28 PM
    Hello anastasia 666

    Firstly there is no law which says that when a couple with a property separate that each gets half of the equity. There can be other variations particularly if one has put more into the property, paid the mortgage etc. The equity that you partner is entitled to may be more or less than half.

    This may be something that you can negotiate on if you want to but if you did not agree then he would have to go to court to enforce his legal right to some of the equity. Given that any money he gets is likely to go to pay for his rent he may decide that its not worth bothering.

    All the information that others have said about HB is correct but he will be entitled to help with his rent if he is on low income regardless of whether his benefit is contribution based or not. The turn2 us website would help with a calculation but if he is wanting to rent somewhere with more than one bedroom or he is under 35 then that may be an issue and he needs to talk to the Local Authority about the Local Housing Allowance for some on in his circumstances
    ďOfficial CAB Representative
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  • anastasia666
    • #5
    • 6th Sep 12, 2:40 PM
    • #5
    • 6th Sep 12, 2:40 PM
    Thanks for your advice. I bought the house before we married and have always paid the mortgage myself. I have supported my husband for many years now, although he did have a full time job for a couple of years which then he changed to part time job due to his health. He can no longer work at all due to his health and has been given lower tier medical retirement - the pension won't be much though, around £190 per month.

    However, we have been together nearly 16 years, and as much as it may pain me to 'lose' money, I'm determined to split things 50/50 as I want everything to be completely fair. I did wonder if he might be entitled to more than 50% really, given his health and his dependance on me? I don't think he'd want more than 50% though. To be honest I'm not convinced that he would want 50% really, but he won't have the opportunity to build up any savings himself and I'd rather he had some capital there for emergencies.
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