Bedroom tax and human rights: The UT has a go

I’ve got two Upper Tribunal decisions on bedroom tax appeals, both from Scotland. Both concern human rights related cases. One concerns what sounds like a fairly hopeless and sadly not well argued case based on disability. The other is considerably more significant and concerns article 8 and shared care of children.

CSH 374 2014 [decision can be downloaded here]
The appellant was subject to the 14% deduction on one bedroom. He was the sole tenant and occupant of a two bedroom property. He apparently is disabled. At the First Teir Tribunal, it was apparently argued by the tenant’s representative that:

The amended Housing Benefit Regulations are themselves discriminatory

Read the full post

Bedroom tax and human rights FTT miscellany

No less than four FTT bedroom tax appeal decision have come my way lately. Three of them concern successful appeals on human rights Article 14 discrimination or Article 8 family life grounds. One is a clear room size decision with an interesting footnote on tenancy agreements.

I’ll start with the most comprehensive decision, which while semi-successful, raises some important issues in its failed grounds, and a question in its semi-successful ground. The decision, SC231/13/01993, from Bedlington, [Statement of Reasons here - a large and not very legible pdf file, I'm afraid], is by Judge A N Moss, who also allowed the appeal in the Sunderland Lift in the Read the full post

DHP not enough to remedy?

We’ve received an interesting First Tier Tribunal (so not binding) appeal decision from Wakefield, thanks to Kirklees Law Centre. A copy of the statement of reasons is here (not anonymised as the appellants consented to it being used largely unredacted).

Mr G was the tenant, occupying a two bedroom property with his wife, Mrs G. Mrs G has severe disabilities following a fracture to her back and the couple had been moved to the property, a bungalow, to which substantial adaptations had been carried out by the local authority landlord. Asa result of Mrs G’s disabilities, Mr G was not able to share the bedroom and there was no space … Read the full post

Help me make it through the night

We have the first (to the best of my knowledge) Upper Tribunal decision on a bedroom tax appeal, and therefore one binding on First Tier Tribunals. While it is not on one of the large scale issues, such as room size, it is nonetheless potentially important for a number of tenants and offers a view of the Upper Tribunal approach to the Regulations.

SD v Eastleigh Borough Council (HB) (Housing and council tax benefits : other) [2014] UKUT 325 (AAC)

The issue here was whether the appellant met the requirements for an additional bedroom for an overnight carer under Reg B13(6)(a).

The property is a three bed house. The appellant … Read the full post

Bedroom tax ‘lead case’ in Upper Tribunal?

Some bits on the bedroom tax and room size

First, a new FTT decision from Rochdale (Reasons here ). A room of 64 square feet was too small for a lodger and had not been used as a bedroom since the appellant’s son moved out in 2010. The room was instead used to store the appellant’s belongings, which she could not reasonably store in the loft due to her medical conditions. Also cites Bolton MBC v BF – the UT definition of a bedroom case – to find the room was not a bedroom because not used as such.

Secondly, (and thanks Joe) I have been sent a copy … Read the full post

More on post possession order disrepair counterclaims

This is an issue we’ve looked at before, bringing a disrepair counterclaim after a possession order has been made. Now the Birmingham County Court has dealt with the issue on an appeal from the decision of a District Judge.

Midland Heart Ltd v Idawah [2014] EW Misc B48 (11 July 2014)

In this case, a possession order had been made in November 2002 (apparenly an SPO). There had subsequently been some seven stays of warrant on terms, in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2012. In February 2014, the Defendant made an application for a further stay of warrant and permission to bring a counterclaim for disrepair, supported by an expert’s … Read the full post

‘We told you so’ corner

The DWP has very belatedly issued the interim review of the bedroom tax (under occupation penalty, removal of the spare room subsidy, whatever). The document can be found here, based on a survey for the period to April/Nov 2013.

And the results are… entirely predictable to everyone but the DWP.

Some headlines…

Social landlord rent arrears rose by 16% between April 2013 and November 2013. The report can’t quite bring itself to pin this on the bedroom tax, although noting that this was not a period of the year when arrears have traditionally risen, “it must be emphasised that the cause of this is uncertain and we cannot directly … Read the full post

Privacy, lifts and bedrooms

An interesting First Tier Tribunal decision from Sunderland (Statement of Reasons).

The claimants/appellants were joint tenants of what had been a three bedroom property. One of the joint tenants suffers from severe and degenerating muscular dystrophy, and had been reliant on a wheelchair for the last 14 years. In about 2006, the property had been adapted in view of the tenant’s disability. Two bedrooms were knocked into one large one and the existing stair lift was replaced by a vertical lift from the living room into what had been the third bedroom.

Despite this, the property was assessed by the council as having two bedrooms (originally they found … Read the full post