Bedroom Tax appeals at FTT

[Update – Upper Tribunal bedroom tax appeal decisions, binding on FTTs, can be found here. New posts as they come in.]

As decisions by the First Tier Tribunal on bedroom tax appeals seem to be coming in thick and fast, I’ll try to keep a list here. Where possible, there will be links to written decisions, if not, then to whatever news or other report is available.  [See also the pre-1996 continuous claims exemption And then removal of that exemption from 3 March 2014]

Significant decisions will continue to be reported on the blog as usual, so I won’t go into details of any decisions here. These are in chronological order, with the area identified.

Fife
Harrower-Gray
Unnamed
Nelson
McCleary
Thomson

Westminster
Lall

Glasgow
Unnamed [Update. 31/10/2013. DWP have permission to appeal this case to the UTT]

Redcar & Cleveland
Unnamed (Press report) (Also report in Daily Mirror, suggesting supported by Landlord) (Decision here) (Our note)

Hereford
Unnamed (NB this is an LHA decision, not bedroom tax proper)

Islington
Unnamed. [Update 21/01/2014. Statement of Reasons and adviser’s submissions. Room found to be ineligible both by reasons of the use of room – storage – and size of room – 42 sq ft. Also disabled adult child who was in care home, but came to stay at the property two nights a week was ‘occupant’ for assessment purposes occupation not defined by period of time, but this was his ‘home’ for the purposes of B13.]

Inverness
Unnamed. Brief details here. Father refused ‘second bedroom’ for three children who stayed at weekends under access arrangements as not ‘main home’ of children. (Cf the ongoing Liberty JR of bedroom tax regs about children in separated families)

Liverpool
Unnamed. Statement of reasons here. Disabled mother living with with adult daughter with autism. 3 bedroom property. The third bedroom was used twice a week by the younger sister staying overnight to provide care for the elder daughter. FTT accepted would be unjustifiable discrimination under Article 14 to treat a member of the household differently to tenant or tenant’s partner in treatment for requiring overnight care. (NB room size argument – 54 sq ft – rejected as room was actually used as bedroom). [Thanks to Ruth Knox, RAISE Benefits Advice Team]

Edinburgh
Unnamed. Partners unable to share a bedroom due to health condition of husband. 5 bed property, dependant son and adult daughter living with them. Assessed as needing 3 bed. Appealed on basis of needing 4 bed. FTT accepted that decision discriminated on basis of disability, with parallel in Gorry and that was an Art 14 breach. Eligible rent to be reduced by 14% not 25%. Decision and adviser’s submissions here.

Liverpool
Unamed. Two ‘bedrooms’ disputed on grounds of size. FTT accepted it should have regard to Housing Act 1985 provisions on overcrowding as ‘under-occupancy can be seen as the flip side of over-crowding’. Reg B 13(5) pre-supposes that to be classified as a bedroom a room should be large enough to be appropriate for use as a bedroom by one adult or by two children. The rooms in this case were two small for appropriate use as a bedroom. Detailed decision notice here.

Rochdale
Unnamed. Single adult in ‘2 bedroom’ flat. Successful appeal on  grounds that room always used as a dining room. Pure historic room use argument. Statement of reasons

Middlesborough
Huggan. News report here. Mother with two sons in the army. They lived in barracks and were not ‘on operations’ . FTT upheld appeal against finding that the barracks was the sons’ main home.

Aberystwyth
Unnamed. Decision notice here (no statement of reasons yet). Details here.

Monmouthshire
Unnamed. Room size and room use. Decision notice here and our report.

Liverpool
Unnamed. Decision notice here. Additional bedroom on Article 8 grounds for family life with daughter who stayed weekends and school holidays. Our report.

Liverpool
Unnamed. Decision/reasons here. Couple unable to share room by reason of severe disability. Article 14 discrimination.

Birkenhead
Unnamed. Decision/reasons here. Pure historic and current room use. Finds current use defines room state. Includes reliance on Uratempsee my note

Liverpool
Unnamed. Decision/reasons here. Duplicates room use/Uratemp argument as in Birkenhead decision above.

Newcastle
Unnamed (The Isos decision) Decision/reasons here. Separated family, child staying at least half the time, appellant not receiving the child benefit. (Note)

Camden
Unnamed. Decision here.  Statement of reason here. Overnight carer. Physical layout of rooms, and nature of rooms meaning not a bedroom. (Note)

Glasgow
Unnamed (x 2) Decision notices here in two FTTs, both assessing a downstairs room as a dining room through established usage reasonably necessary for enjoyment of the property. See also Govan Law Centre post.

Liverpool
Unnamed. Room size decision [Decision notice], 52 sq ft too small to be a bedroom, supported by photos. Also notably decides that HHSRS standards apply to social housing as well as HMOs. (This is a bit confused, because of course the HHSRS standards apply. There is no suggestion that HHSRS only applies to HMOs (though they can’t be enforced against Council landlords) There is also no room size standard in the HHSRS via Housing Act 2004, so what is actually meant here is less than clear, despite saying that a room size of 6.5 square meters was necessary to avoid category 1 overcrowding).

Southwark
Unnamed. [Decision notice] Couple unable to share bedroom by reason of disability, argued as Art 14 discrimination.

Brighton
Unnamed. Decision notice. (NB this is an LHA case, not HB/Bedroom Tax) A finding that imposing the bedroom tax on partners unable to share a room due to severe disability would be an Article 14 breach and that the regulations must be read to allow another bedroom. This decision post dates MA & Ors in the Court of Appeal.

Oxford
Unnamed Statement of Reasons. The adult daughter of the appellant is severely disabled and requires constant day and night care. Respite care 41 days per year requiring an additional room. Article 14 discrimination. MA distinguished. Note here.

Lambeth
Unnamed. Decision Notice. Room use/historic room use & landlord’s designation. Two rooms, including living room knocked together pre tenancy.

Isle of Wight
Unnamed. Decision Notice. A failed appeal on room size. FTT found that a room between 50 and 70 sq ft was a bedroom, based largely on it having been used as a bedroom in the past by tenant’s son.

Liverpool
Unnamed. Decision Notice. Room size and use. ‘Room always used as a computer room’. “Changed from being bedroom during course of tenancy’. Refers to Uratemp.

Liverpool
Unnamed. Decision Notice. Mix of room size and application of 1996 exemption. Move to new property in 2001 occasioned by ‘fire at the flats and flood at the home. Rehoused due to these conditions’. (Apparently decant for demolition). Room with fridge freezer in it not stopped from being bedroom. Note here.

Runcorn
Unnamed. Statement of reasons here. Room use, room adapted as sensory room for disabled daughter. Landlord assisted in adaptations of room. Our note.

Liverpool
Carmichael case. Statement of reasons here. Couple unable to share a room by reason of serve disability. This is the Carmichael case referenced in MA & Ors in the Court of Appeal, but as noted here, the FTT found discrimination.

Islington
Unnamed. Decision notice. Room not suitable for use as a bedroom at time of decision due to condition of room (condensation damp and mould). Note here.

Liverpool
Unnamed. Statement of reasons. Room size argument. Interesting approach on Part X Housing Act 1985 issue. Note

Rochdale
Unnamed. Statement of reasons. Room size. Art 8 and 14 arguments dismissed. Bolton UT decision ‘not relevant’. Note

Wiltshire
Unnamed. Decision Notice. Room ‘ceased to be used as a bedroom before 2011’. Used as an office and contained office furniture. That it had been used as bedroom in the past and could be used as bedroom in the future did not mean it was a bedroom now.

Sunderland
Unnamed. Statement of Reasons. Room converted to have access for lift for disabled tenant not a bedroom, because although a bed could be fitted, it ‘lacks that degree of personal space and privacy integral to the definition of a bedroom’. Worth examining as a careful appeal-proofing of a decision. Note here.

Rochdale
Unnamed. Statement of Reasons. Room size – 64 sq feet – and room use. Cites Bolton UT case.

Wakefield
Gresham. Statement of Reasons. Conditional short term DHPs not enough to remedy disability discrimination. Couple unable to share bedroom because of severe disability. Adapted property. Note here.

Bedlington
Unnamed. [Statement of reasons] Separated family. Child staying a weekend per month and longer at school holidays had home at property for bedroom tax purposes. Room size and room use arguments dismissed. Note here

Liverpool
Unnamed. [Statement of reasons]. Article 14 discrimination where sole occupant was significantly disabled, property adapted for use, no DHP. Note here

Liverpool
Unnamed. [Statement of reasons] Couple unable to share bedroom due to disability, article 14 discrimination. Note here

Truro
Kent. [Statement of reasons] Room of less than 50 sq ft, used for storage not a bedroom. Tenancy agreement did not specify number of bedrooms. Note here

Liverpool
Unnamed SC068/14/01187. [statement of reasons]. Two rooms, each below 6m2 of useable floor space were not bedrooms. Respondent ‘not entitled to ignore housing overcrowding legislation’ (HA 1985).

Wirral
Unnamed [Statement of reasons] A wheelchair user and Consultant Planning Inspector who had always used the second bedroom as a home office, with the landlord’s knowledge from the start, had the FTT declared that the ‘second bedroom’ was not a bedroom.

St Helens
Unnamed. [Decision here] Pure room use case. [Note here]

Liverpool
Unnamed [Statement of reasons]. Article 14 discrimination where couple unable to share room. MA & Ors distinguished. [note here]

Manchester
Unnamed. No Statement available. The appellant had been continuously entitled to Housing Benefit since before 01/01/1996. In 1998 the tenant had moved properties. The tenant experienced severe subsidence in her first property rendering it uninhabitable and this was the sole reason for the move. The Council accepted that the subsidence constituted a ‘natural catastrophe’ for the purposes of s.4(3)(a) of Schedule 3 of the The Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006 but still disputed that the tenant qualified under the pre-1996 exemption. The FTT allowed the tenant’s appeal.

Kirklees
Unnamed. Decision. Room of 43 sq ft too small to be a bedroom. Reg B13(5) presupposes that bedroom must be large enough for one adult or two children under 10.

Derby
Unnamed. Decision. Room too small to use as a bedroom. Door opened inwards, preventing even a single bed.

Kettering
Unnamed. Statement of reasons. Tenant severely disabled with MS, requiring overnight case. Allocated ‘3 bed’ property by Council as only suitable property. One ‘bedroom’ used for physiotherapy equipment, the other as a television room. Tribunal finds lack of any realistic alternative to current property and “the promise having been given the appellant had a legitimate expectation that her present accommodation would be her home for life and there is no overriding public policy requirement that justifies resiling from that promise. There is a straightforward means of keeping the promise. The fact that it involves a modest increase in public expenditure does not constitute sufficient reason for going back on the promise”. (Apparently treating Council as landlord and Council as benefit authority as unitary body).

Norwich
Unnamed. Decision Notice. Bedroom too small and never used as a bedroom.

Newcastle
Unnamed. Detailed decision notice. Bedroom had been used as bedroom by younger children. Since used as storage area. Reasonable for older children to require larger room. Landlord’s view of bedrooms not determinative and benefit authority had not inspected/investigated.

Bexleyheath
FTT appeal but Post Fife UT appeal decision. Decision Notice. Room of small size and too awkwardly shaped, with sloping roof, and too hot to be a bedroom because immersion heater and boiler in room.

Enfield
Unnamed. Third bedroom ‘not in fact a bedroom’. Local Authority didn’t turn up. Decision here. No further details.

St Helens
Unnamed. Decision Notice. Room use – room used as office/storage, dressing room and for sewing. Post-dates Fife UT decisions, but lacks detailed reasons.

Middlesborough
Unnamed. April 2015. Decision notice. Shared care of child decision, made after MR in the UT and distinguishes it as based on error of law. Report here