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Council changing Tenancy details... advice needed!

(10 Posts)
Shellywelly1973 Mon 15-Oct-12 10:59:26

I have been renting a property from the council for nearly 9 years. On my tenancy, it clearly states this is a three bedroomed house. I have a living room and small dining room downstairs.

I live here with my 3 youngest dc. Dd 11, ds 7 & ds 4. Ds 7 has dx of ASD 7 ADHD. He is in receipt of H.R DLA.

I recieved a phone call last week from my local housing manager telling me i would lose 14% of my housing benefit as we are under occupying our home by by 1 room.

According to the housing manager, under the Housing benefit rules, properties with a dining room are now being classed as 4 bedroom properties. I told her I had signed a tenancy for a three bedroom house, she replied, under the new rules , council tenants are only entitled to use 1 room in the house as a living room...

Does anyone have info regarding the new housing benefits rules and dining rooms? Are there no considerations for disabled children? I've contacted CAB and Gingerbread, they both have directed me to Shelter. I have been trying to get through to them all morning and will try again later. I've googled this to death but can find nothing about the issue of dining rooms and council properties, in relation to housing benefit.

Thank you for any advice,

olgaga Tue 16-Oct-12 10:08:53

Keep trying Shelter, but here is some background for you:

www.housing.org.uk/policy/welfare_reform/%E2%80%98under-occupation%E2%80%99_penalty.aspx

It does seem as though the Council can designate your dining room as an extra bedroom, and the only allowance for people with disabilities is if they need a spare room to accommodate an overnight carer.

Lougle Tue 16-Oct-12 10:21:17

My reading of the following, is that as long as you can show that your DS who is 7 needs his own bedroom, due to his ADHD, then the following will be the case:

1 bedroom for each adult
1 bedroom for two children of the same sex
1 bedroom for two children under 10

If your DD was under 10, then your DD and DS2 would have to share.

If your DS1 didn't need his own bedroom, then your DS1 and DS2 would need to share.

As it is, I would say the following applies:

1 bedroom for you
1 bedroom for your DS1 (due to ADHD with HRC DLA which is evidence that he is disturbed in his sleep each night)
1 bedroom for your DD (cannot share with a male child due to her age)
1 bedroom for your DS2 (cannot share with your DD due to age difference, and cannot share with DS1 due to DS1's disability).

That makes 4 bedrooms.

The quote I am basing this on is:

"9.
Due to a Court of Appeal judgment in the cases of Burnip, Trengove and Gorry those whose children are said to be unable to share a bedroom because of severe disabilities will be able to claim Housing Benefit for an extra room from the date of the judgment, 15 May 2012. However it will remain for local authorities to assess the individual circumstances of the claimant and their family and decide whether their disabilities are genuinely such that it is inappropriate for the children to be expected to share a room. This will involve considering not only the nature and severity of the disability but also the nature and frequency of care required during the night, and the extent and regularity of the disturbance to the sleep of the child who would normally be required to share the bedroom. This will come down to a matter of judgment on the facts." www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/a4-2012.pdf

coppertop Tue 16-Oct-12 10:21:51

This section from Olgaga's link might be useful too. It's in the guidance to LAs section:

"Due to a Court of Appeal judgment in the cases of Burnip, Trengove and
Gorry those whose children are said to be unable to share a bedroom
because of severe disabilities will be able to claim Housing Benefit for an
extra room from the date of the judgment, 15 May 2012. However it will
remain for local authorities to assess the individual circumstances of the
claimant and their family and decide whether their disabilities are
genuinely such that it is inappropriate for the children to be expected to
share a room. This will involve considering not only the nature and severity
of the disability but also the nature and frequency of care required during
the night, and the extent and regularity of the disturbance to the sleep of
the child who would normally be required to share the bedroom. This will
come down to a matter of judgment on the facts."

coppertop Tue 16-Oct-12 10:22:37

Cross-posted with Lougle! smile

Anifrangapani Wed 17-Oct-12 21:06:50

Depending on the size (m sq) and room layout you may be able to argue that it doesn't meet space standards for another occupant. Look up HCA design standards on google - it is the Housing corporation document and the HQIs that you need.

Shellywelly1973 Fri 19-Oct-12 11:04:03

Thanks for the advice!

Housing Officer said there were no allowances for disabled children but i have stumbled across the case that was referred to.

There appears to be no defined measurements regarding room size in relation to hb-though the existing rules for landlords to conform too still apply!

Shellywelly1973 Fri 19-Oct-12 11:52:15

Just to finish off...

I've just got through to Shelter. The advisor said there are no guidelines or directives to LA's in relation to HB &dining rooms.So my council can't include the dining room when calculating HB.

So it looks like I won't lose 14% of the HB!

olgaga Fri 19-Oct-12 15:11:32

Hmmm...

I'm not sure that's right. There are no guidelines or directives in relation to dining rooms, specifically, that's true. But it's not really anything to do with whether it's a dining room or not.

Unless there is a gas boiler in the room, or you have to walk through the room to get to another room, it could be reclassified as a bedroom IMO.

I wouldn't be too confident if I were you!

holidaysarenice Mon 22-Oct-12 09:08:02

I'm not really sure you can take both those arguements, that you signed a 3 bed agreement AND that you need a 4 bed because of you sons disability.

Either its been a 3 bed you signed OR you have always needed a 4 bed.

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