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  • FIRST POST
    • TRaven
    • By TRaven 13th Apr 18, 7:28 PM
    • 43Posts
    • 12Thanks
    TRaven
    Housing Benefit LHA Rate question
    • #1
    • 13th Apr 18, 7:28 PM
    Housing Benefit LHA Rate question 13th Apr 18 at 7:28 PM
    Can somebody advise what constitutes a household for the purposes of LHA/Housing Benefit.

    I am joint tenant with my brother in a three bed/two reception flat. We took two rooms each and share the third as a joint lounge. Since the place is in the middle of a noisy town centre the rent is about the same as a smaller property further out.

    My brother is a carer for my mother who lives a few properties away.I am on ESA following a mental breakdown 4 years ago. We are both over 36 and single, no kids.

    In 2017 we moved to out current flat where we signed the tenancy as joint tenants.

    My question is for Housing Benefit/LHA purposes should we each be entitled to the Shared Room Rate or should we be entitled to the Bedroom Room Rate?

    I believed that since we were related and living as family we would be regards as a household and therefore entitled to the 1 Bedroom Rate.

    Am I wrong in this?
    Last edited by TRaven; 14-04-2018 at 3:28 PM. Reason: should have said 1 bedroom rate
Page 1
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 13th Apr 18, 8:12 PM
    • 5,498 Posts
    • 11,446 Thanks
    marliepanda
    • #2
    • 13th Apr 18, 8:12 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Apr 18, 8:12 PM
    Single room rate isn!!!8217;t a thing. Do you mean one bedroom rate?

    What is your rent and what are the HB rates for your area. Do you like an a UNiversal Credit area
    • TRaven
    • By TRaven 13th Apr 18, 8:26 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    TRaven
    • #3
    • 13th Apr 18, 8:26 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Apr 18, 8:26 PM
    Post not required
    Last edited by TRaven; 14-04-2018 at 3:26 PM.
    • TRaven
    • By TRaven 14th Apr 18, 2:41 PM
    • 43 Posts
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    TRaven
    • #4
    • 14th Apr 18, 2:41 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Apr 18, 2:41 PM
    Post not required
    Last edited by TRaven; 14-04-2018 at 3:26 PM. Reason: Post not required
    • tboo
    • By tboo 14th Apr 18, 9:33 PM
    • 644 Posts
    • 3,307 Thanks
    tboo
    • #5
    • 14th Apr 18, 9:33 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Apr 18, 9:33 PM
    Can somebody advise what constitutes a household for the purposes of LHA/Housing Benefit.

    I am joint tenant with my brother in a three bed/two reception flat. We took two rooms each and share the third as a joint lounge. Since the place is in the middle of a noisy town centre the rent is about the same as a smaller property further out.

    My brother is a carer for my mother who lives a few properties away.I am on ESA following a mental breakdown 4 years ago. We are both over 36 and single, no kids.

    In 2017 we moved to out current flat where we signed the tenancy as joint tenants.

    My question is for Housing Benefit/LHA purposes should we each be entitled to the Shared Room Rate or should we be entitled to the Bedroom Room Rate?

    I believed that since we were related and living as family we would be regards as a household and therefore entitled to the 1 Bedroom Rate.

    Am I wrong in this?
    Originally posted by TRaven
    ]My mistake there. I meant 1 bedroom rate but have been typing shared room rate so many times today my thoughts went a little off.

    The rent is £670 pcm we are each responsible for 50% so my share of rent would be £335

    The 1 bedroom rate is £98 in this area
    The shared room rate is £67 in this area

    Wondering which rate it should be more than the actual amount.

    and

    Just to add the reason for this question is that there has been a dispute with my council about the rate of LHA I should receive. They say it is the shared room rate, I believe it should be the one bedroom rate.

    According to the letter they sent me today the reason that I am entitled to the shared room rate is because I cannot live within the household without the help of my brother, which I strongly disagree with. They have taken my explanation of how I first came to live with my brother before we moved and I signed with him as a joint tenant and applied it to the current situation.

    They also state that this is proven because my ESA is paid to his account and my rent is paid from the account.
    Originally posted by TRaven



    Originally posted by TRaven


    You are entitled to the 1 bedroom self contained rate not the 1 bedroom shared rate

    This is because you have rights to 2 rooms each

    '2.060
    Single customers aged 35 years and over and couples with no
    dependent children will be entitled to the rate for a one-bedroom property, for example a one-bedroom flat or studio or other kind of self-contained accommodation, provided they actually rent a property of at least this size.

    2.061
    If people in this category choose to live in a property where they do not have either: !!!8226; exclusive use of two or more rooms, or !!!8226; exclusive use of one room, a bathroom and toilet and a kitchen or facilities for cooking they will be entitled to only the shared room LHA rate.'

    Link

    take note of the notes on the guide
    ''Whether the tenant has exclusive use of rooms should normally be clear from the tenancy agreement'
    as the LA may be using this to give you the shared room rate

    You may wish to point out to the LA that even though you are brothers and joint tenants you are separate households but you maintain common households with your brother.so the 1 self contained room rate applies

    same link

    2.100
    Joint tenants within the same household
    In some cases joint tenants may be part of the same household but are not treated as members of the same family. For example, the customer may have a non-dependent son or daughter who is a joint tenant but they maintain a common household.

    But bear in mind the 1 room rate is £424.66 per mth and your share is £335 so the £335 will be the rate they use for the assessment

    Please contact the Citizens Advice Bureaux if you require help in disputing the room rate.
    Last edited by tboo; 14-04-2018 at 9:36 PM.
    started on No Clutter thread
    25/01/2018
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don't worry and be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” —Walter Hagen
    ----------------------------------------------
    • TRaven
    • By TRaven 15th Apr 18, 2:34 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    TRaven
    • #6
    • 15th Apr 18, 2:34 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Apr 18, 2:34 PM
    Actually the LA has somehow determined from responses to the questions they asked that one of us is incapable of living independently and therefore the shared room rate applies to one and the 1 bedroom rate applies to the other as we cannot be a common household..

    We're trying to find out at the moment which part of the HB Regs allow them to make that assessment since it appears they have assessed that capability based on two sentences.

    Suffice to say that one of us is quite offended by their assessment.
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 15th Apr 18, 3:01 PM
    • 5,498 Posts
    • 11,446 Thanks
    marliepanda
    • #7
    • 15th Apr 18, 3:01 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Apr 18, 3:01 PM
    Actually the LA has somehow determined from responses to the questions they asked that one of us is incapable of living independently and therefore the shared room rate applies to one and the 1 bedroom rate applies to the other as we cannot be a common household..

    We're trying to find out at the moment which part of the HB Regs allow them to make that assessment since it appears they have assessed that capability based on two sentences.

    Suffice to say that one of us is quite offended by their assessment.
    Originally posted by TRaven
    Your earlier deleted post which has been quoted says that they believe you cannot live there without your brother and that was the case when you first came to live with your brother but now it isn’t?

    Is this because of the reason you are claiming ESA. Are you claiming any PIP?
    • Afraid of Kittens
    • By Afraid of Kittens 15th Apr 18, 3:19 PM
    • 38 Posts
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    Afraid of Kittens
    • #8
    • 15th Apr 18, 3:19 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Apr 18, 3:19 PM
    There is a rule where a disabled person under 35 for whom someone receives carers allowance so they lose their Severe Disability Premium has their LHA restricted from 1 bedroom to SRR rate.

    Can't figure out what legislation they are using in this case.
    • TRaven
    • By TRaven 15th Apr 18, 3:19 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    TRaven
    • #9
    • 15th Apr 18, 3:19 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Apr 18, 3:19 PM
    I don't get PIP. Have never applied for it to be honest. Mostly because I have seen some people I think really do need that support and probably had a much better basis for needing it get turned down and don't want the stress of applying etc.
    I claim ESA for anxiety, depression and self-harm. I am currently getting back to a position where I can return to work

    The actual events that took place were that around six months to a year before we started renting our current flat as joint tenants, I was without a home and had been sleeping on friends sofas for a while. My brother had a two bed flat and a spare room and offered me the chance to move in. I took it because trying to get a place of my own at that time would have been financially impossible (at that time I didn't even have a bank account of my own and had to have it paid into somebody else's bank). I was living as his non-dependent.

    At the time we moved to the new flat I was in a position where I could have either moved with him or moved to my own place. I chose to move with him because it was a more affordable arrangement and because as brothers we get along quite well and it has always worked out in the past.
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 15th Apr 18, 3:57 PM
    • 11,419 Posts
    • 13,299 Thanks
    pmlindyloo
    You have the right to appeal this.

    http://www.stevenage.gov.uk/benefits/19111/19140/

    I can't get my head round how they have worked this out.

    Take the council's decision letter to CAB and ask their opinion and help with the appeal.
    • TRaven
    • By TRaven 15th Apr 18, 5:18 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    TRaven
    Yeah this is going to appeal.
    Their argument makes very little sense and their timeline of decision making makes even less sense. On 7th November they revised a decision from March that the 1 bedroom rate applied, shifting it to the shared room rate. On the 8th they wrote out to ask for information to allow them to make that decision. They basically asked the questions like how is rent paid, food stored, bills arranged etc. and then decided the shared room rate applied.
    Except they never read that response. Nor did they read the request for a review of their decision until January 2018 when they sent it to their appeals team. Then following a complaint to the council in March that it had taken them 2 months to actually forward the review to the correct team and they had still not responded after another two months, they then sent out to ask how I came to move in with my brother and become a joint tenant. They have then used that answer as the justification of their decision based on being unable to function without him.
    Have got an appeal ready to go, will be sending them and Subject Access Request tomorrow to see if there are any notes that explain what they have done and will be contacting CAB
    • Afraid of Kittens
    • By Afraid of Kittens 15th Apr 18, 5:23 PM
    • 38 Posts
    • 28 Thanks
    Afraid of Kittens
    Ask for a copy of the actual legislation used as I can't seem to find anything in the guidance issued by the DWP or the legislation.
    • TRaven
    • By TRaven 15th Apr 18, 5:39 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    TRaven
    Am I able to send them a letter requesting an explanation of a housing benefit decision here? I know this was an internal review and they have stated that the next stage would be an appeal, but in reviewing this they have come to a decision in the matter.
    • tboo
    • By tboo 15th Apr 18, 7:31 PM
    • 644 Posts
    • 3,307 Thanks
    tboo
    There is a rule where a disabled person under 35 for whom someone receives carers allowance so they lose their Severe Disability Premium has their LHA restricted from 1 bedroom to SRR rate.
    Originally posted by Afraid of Kittens
    That doesn't apply in the ops case as no one is caring for him
    started on No Clutter thread
    25/01/2018
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don't worry and be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” —Walter Hagen
    ----------------------------------------------
    • tboo
    • By tboo 15th Apr 18, 7:32 PM
    • 644 Posts
    • 3,307 Thanks
    tboo
    Try this

    Father and son - joint tenants which went to tribunal
    started on No Clutter thread
    25/01/2018
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don't worry and be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” —Walter Hagen
    ----------------------------------------------
    • TRaven
    • By TRaven 15th Apr 18, 8:37 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    TRaven
    Funny. The letter the council wrote back to me contained the term common household. When I searched for it this was one of the few places where it came up. Incidentally their letter in November after the decision had been made asked 5 of the consideration of whether there is a household, the letter in March after I complained about their review taking 4 months asked the first question and their reasoning seems to be almost that they've taken the line:

    !!!8220;In my judgment, what is meant is a group of two or more persons living together as a unit where that group enjoys a reasonable level of independence and self sufficiency!!!8221; (at paragraph 14).

    and decided that somehow finding a lack of a reasonable level of independence and self sufficiency is a reason to dismiss the argument that we are a household altogether.

    I find this amusing as this was something we hadn't argued in the first place. In fact due to the way the council stores details of joint tenants on their system, we thought at one point they were trying to make this a living together case.



    SAR has now been prepared and sent, request for them to clarify the legislation and regs used was also sent and an appeal will be lodged this week.
    • TRaven
    • By TRaven 20th Apr 18, 7:35 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    TRaven
    Just an update...
    On Monday I put in their appeal form along with an 11 page explanation of why they were incorrect and should pay me the 1 bedroom rate. I also put in a letter asking them to explain their decision along with the exact regulation and legislation used to make that decision. And finally I put in an SAR since if all else failed I hoped the records would show their reasoning.
    Tonight I logged into the online service and found that they have seen sense and decided that I should not be paid the shared room rate and have backdated that decision. So either they decided that they had misunderstood what they had been told, or that they had gotten mixed up somewhere else.
    Either way I am going to wait to see what they say and what they are paying as they updated the screen layout a few weeks back and no longer show what rate of LHA eligible rent is calculated on.

    It appears they have set the LHA to the two room rate.
    Last edited by TRaven; 20-04-2018 at 8:28 PM.
    • TRaven
    • By TRaven 26th Apr 18, 12:50 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    TRaven
    Final update on this. Received a letter through this morning explaining that they had received my appeal and had taken the opportunity to review the decision. Upon review they were satisfied that my brother and I were a common household. They have therefore updated my claim to the 2 bedroom rate and made a payment to cover the arrears. That has in effect erased the original overpayment and paid £600+ to me for the 23 weeks I was paid shared room rate instead of the 2 bedroom rate.
    This isn't quite the end of the matter. I am complaining to the council that the letter asking them to explain the decision in November 2017 which should have received a response in 14 days was not answered until January, that it took 4 months to respond to the request for review. Most importantly though I will be asking the council or the ombudsman to look at why they were able to make the decision about my independence since there does not appear to be a regulation giving them that ability, and whether their deciding on that basis when there was no regulation/policy/guidance constitutes discrimination.
    But as far as ths goes it has now been sorted. Thank you those who helped
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