Not, I hasten to make clear, a Daily Mail style piece on the health giving properties of drinking expensive water, but a couple of quick notes.
First, a Southwark rent arrears possession case, demonstrating that the effects of Jones v London Borough of Southwark  EWHC 457 (Ch) (our report) rumble on in Southwark, despite the Council agreeing to repay overcharged water rates for the period 2001-2013 to the tenants. (Our thanks to Serdar Celebi, Cambridge House Law Centre and Tim Baldwin, Garden Court Chambers for the note).
LB Southwark v SH. 29 March 2017, Lambeth County Court.
In June 2016 (after the decision to refund tenants) Southwark brought a possession claim against SH for rent arrears. The sum claimed and the rent statements took no account of the water rates refund.
SH defended on that basis, and also that the arrears were in large part due to housing benefit issues. In July 2016 a payment of £676.10 was made to the rent account by Southwark for the water rates refund. In the same month, arrears of housing benefit of £1,515.68. These brought the rent account into credit.
On 29 March 2017 DDJ Rollason dismissed the Claim and ordered the Claimant to pay the Defendant’s costs. The DDJ found that given judgment was given in Jones v Southwark in March 2016 and this Claim was issued in June 2016, the figures in the Particulars of Claim were ‘wholly incorrect’ and the imminent water rates refund ‘should never have been included’ in the Claim. The DDJ further found in relation to the rent arrears caused by Housing Benefit arrears, proceedings should not have been commenced due to the outstanding issues. The DDJ referred to paragraph 2.6 of the pre action protocol on rent arrears possession claims.
The water rates issue continues – we have seen Greenwich being involved, and Lambeth are also facing such defences. As some 67 councils and housing associations had the same agreements with Thames Water (37 of them or so councils), the fall out will spread. Certainly anyone looking at a social landlord arrears claim in the Thames Water area so look at whether water rates are being charged as rent.
The DWP has issued guidance notes on the Housing Costs Element for 18-21 year olds (or rather the removal thereof).
At para 20 is a (non-exhaustive) list of circumstances in which it may be deemed to be inappropriate for the young person to live with their parents. It starts, rather obviously one might think, with
those whose parents are deceased
Still, it is always best to be clear about such things.
Apparently, the Decision Maker “should accept the evidence from the person or their representative unless there is stronger evidence to the contrary or the evidence is self contradictory”.
Of course the real damage is that landlords, particularly private landlords, will simply hear the ‘no housing element for those under 22’ and not offer tenancies in the first place, because one cannot claim the housing element (and gain the exemption) unless there actually is a specific prospective tenancy.
(Hat tip to @TimMorton2 for the ‘When did you last see your father?’ joke.)