Well, featuring fire and flood at least.
As we’ve noted before, the ‘1996 exemption‘ to the bedroom tax only applied if one was in the same property or if:
the dwelling so occupied was not the same by reason only that the change was caused by a fire, flood, explosion or natural catastrophe rendering the dwelling occupied as the home on the first date uninhabitable;
My recorded view is that this is strict (‘by reason only’) and not a general force majeure clause that would extend to decants for demolition or such-like.
The unnamed appellant had been moved from her previous property in 2001.
The tribunal heard evidence that her property was uninhabitable prior to her move, due to the other properties in the large block of flats being empty, the flats were set on fire, and she suffered floods in her home. She was rehoused due to these conditions.
The other flats being empty is the clue – there was surely a block decant for demolition or redevelopment going on. But the appellant’s accepted evidence of there having been both fire and flood (one would have done!) at the property was taken as the reason for her rehousing. And of course it could well be so, an urgent move that took place before a planned decant move.
Unlikely to be the most common of situations, but on the accepted evidence, a perfectly proper application of the 1996 exemption.
It is also worth noting that a supplemental argument that a room in the current property was not a bedroom on the basis of room use failed, because, although the room had a fridge freezer in it and was not used as a bedroom, that ‘does not change the ability to use the room as a bedroom’.
(At least one of us on NL is a Wagner fan. But it isn’t me. It is important to make this clear.)