Wednesday, 3rd November, 2021.
Full-Day Workshop (9:30 - 4:30/4:45)
Workshop Fee: £220 + VAT. 4th Place Free .
HOUSING BENEFIT & SUPPORTED ACCOMMODATIO N
Key Issues Affecting HB Entitlement And Subsidy
This Workshop is aimed at primarily at local authority HB officers making decisions about supported accommodation cases: Whether HB can be paid and, if so, how much? We also welcome delegates from supported accommodation providers, who we hope will find valuable insights from the content.
The growth of the supported accommodation sector in recent years, combined with the roll-out of Universal Credit, has led to this type of accommodation forming a progressively larger part of local authority HB departments’ workloads. This Workshop aims to provide delegates working at all levels with a thorough introduction to the issues affecting whether HB can be paid at all, if so, how much and how it is subsidised.
There appear to be several widely held misconceptions about the complex relationships between landlord type (especially whether or not the accommodation provider is a registered housing association), support arrangements (especially whether support is provided by the landlord itself or by a separately commissioned third party) and referral to the Rent Officer. We will clarify all of these overlapping areas and ensure that delegates understand the correct amount of eligible rent to allow and how much subsidy the Council will receive. We will also look at certain schemes which are not specified/exempt accommodation and therefore do not attract working age HB (instead, tenants/licensees may claim a UC housing element) – and why these schemes do not attract HB. Examples include “shared lives” adult placements, “staying put”/”when I’m ready” (where a former foster child remains in the foster carer’s home as a lodger) and the vast majority of local authority sheltered housing (although of course pensioners may still claim HB for these schemes).
Very often it makes a difference to the HB outcome (especially eligible rent) whether the claimant occupies exempt accommodation or merely specified accommodation. We will see exactly how these terms are defined and how the key variable is whether the landlord itself provides or directs care, support or supervision to a more than minimal extent. We will consider what it takes for support to be “more than minimal” and what kind of evidence should be required in order to judge whether or not support is more than minimal.
One of the areas of concern is the expansion of investor-led lease-based schemes where a non-profit body (typically a registered HA) leases accommodation from a real estate investment fund for rents which are often far higher than the general needs open market value of the property. We will discuss whether this is a phenomenon that should be tackled and, if so, what tools are available to the local authority where the issue is the amount of core property rent, as opposed to service charges - can the rent be restricted? What sort of market benchmark should be used to measure the reasonable ness of the rent? Should the Council say the tenancy was created to take advantage of the HB scheme? What does the social housing Regulator think about these schemes and should authorities involve the Regulator?
Apart from core property rent, service charges are another area that causes confusion and generates frequent questions. Examples include:
Presented by the “HB Anorak” Peter Barker who has many years’ experience dealing with complex supported accommodation case work and representing both local authorities and providers in appeal cases.
· Specified accommodation
· Exempt accommodation
Effect of occupying specified or exempt accommodation
· Eligible rent
· Benefit cap
· Registered charities
· Registered housing associations
· Other non-profit bodies
Rent Officer referral
· Eligible rent
· Registered housing associations and the Rent Officer
Care, support and supervision
· What is “more than minimal?”
Judging whether payments are reasonable
· Core rent
· Service charges
Eligible and ineligible service charges
· Intensive housing management
Contact us for In-House & 'Zoom' booking information on a range of programmes for this topic.
We are always pleased to arrange most of our Workshops, such as this one, for staff from an individual organisation.. Please email us with your requirements for details.
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