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Housing Team Amy Tagoe – Solicitor 01942 774198.

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Presentation on theme: "Housing Team Amy Tagoe – Solicitor 01942 774198."— Presentation transcript:

1 Housing Team Amy Tagoe – Solicitor

2 Issues we deal with Most tenant/ homelessness issues including: Rent arrears/ notices Possession proceedings – any reason Evictions Unlawful Evictions Homelessness Disrepair Anti Social Behaviour Injunctions

3 Funding Public funding (legal aid) available - ‘passported benefits: Income support, Income based JSA, income based ESA, guarantee credit - low income qualifies - assessment of means over the ‘phone/ at the drop in - Fixed fees available - CFA where appropriate

4 Main housing Legal Aid Changes  Early Intervention – now when proceedings are contemplated  Allocation/ waiting list  Disrepair – only if significant risk to health or as a counterclaim  General queries/ succession of tenancy unless proceedings are contemplated  Unlawful Eviction – Law Society fought to keep in scope  Housing Benefit and general welfare rights (we now have a pro bono unit)

5 The bedroom tax Welfare Reform Act 2012  Unless old enough to receive a state pension, the amount of housing benefit given to social housing tenants with a “spare bedroom” has been reduced  One spare bedroom equal to 14% rent  Two or more spare bedrooms equal to 25% rent

6  Housing Benefit will pay towards one bedroom each for each of the following - An adult couple - Anyone aged 16 or over - Two children under 16 of the same sex - Two children under 10 regardless of sex - Any other child

7 Does anyone escape?  Those who are of pensionable age  Approved foster carers who have been approved in the last 12 months or who have taken in a child in the last 12 months  Adult children in the Armed Forces but who continue to live with their parents

8 Changes since the legislation  A carer who needs to be able to stay overnight but who doesn’t normally live with you (Burnip)  A room for a child who is unable to share due to a disability (Gorry)  Disabled adults who are unable to share?  Rooms to small to be occupied as a bedroom?

9 Non-binding decisions (first tier tribunal decisions)  Small bedrooms  Previous use of rooms  Room used for equipment for a disability  Room used by a disabled child in residential care  Specially adapted properties

10 Unnamed (fife)  4 bedroom property  There were 3 rooms other than the tenants bedroom, kitchen and bathroom  The tribunal held that one could be considered a living room  It was held that the room leading to the kitchen could be considered a dining room  The 3 rd spare room was 67 sq ft, and an unusual shape and the tribunal was not satisfied it was fit to use as a bedroom.

11 Unnamed (fife)  3 bedroom property  Disabled tenant  The tribunal decided that he was entitled to an additional bedroom for an overnight carer  The 3 rd bedroom was 64 sq ft and therefore too small to be a bedroom for overcrowding regulations.  The tribunal held the 3 rd room was not a bedroom

12 Nelson (fife)  3 bedroom property  Disabled tenant  Tribunal accepted that one bedroom was needed for an overnight carer  The 3 rd bedroom was only 66.4 sq ft and held too small to be a bedroom

13 Unnamed (Glasgow)  The tribunal held that to apply the regulations to a severely disabled woman who could not share a bedroom with her partner would be an unjustified breach of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination)

14 Unnamed (Redcar)  The tribunal held that a disabled woman who was unable to share a bedroom with her husband was entitled to a separate bedroom

15 Unnamed (Islington)  3 bedroom property  The tenants disabled son stayed with her every week for between 1 and 3 nights  It was held that the 2 nd bedroom was occupied by the disabled son  The 3 rd bedroom was 42 sq ft and was used to store equipment needed for the disabled son.  It was held that the 3 rd bedroom was not a bedroom although it is not clear from the decision whether this was based on room size or usage

16 Unnamed (Rochdale)  2 bedroom property  The tenant had always used one of the rooms as a dining room  The tribunal held that the room was not a bedroom

17 Pre-1996 exemption  Claimants are exempt from the regulations if they have been continuously claiming housing benefit for the same property since before 1996  There can’t have been a break in the entitlement of more than 4 weeks or 52 weeks if the claimant or their partner was a welfare to work beneficiary

18 Discretionary Housing Benefit (DHB)  Limited short term financial help by application to LA  1 in 16 people can be helped  Fixed periods of time and dependant upon circumstances  But the funds run out very quickly

19 What can we do?  Fight possession and eviction Proportionality Reasonableness Equality Act  Apply for DHB  Present as homeless (Affordability of current accommodation)

20 How to contact us  Through the drop in clinics in Trafford at Broomwood or Partington  Appointments available at any of our local offices: Altrincham, Manchester, St Helens, Leigh, Wigan, Bolton  Contact the Altrincham office Amy Tagoe Joanne Ellis


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