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Welfare reform on the Web (October 2006): Social security - UK

Landmark ruling could lead to housing benefit gap for tenants

S. Brody

Community Care, Sept. 14th-20th 2006, p.18

This article reports on the implications of a judgement made by social security commissioner Charles Turnbull in June 2006. The judgement centred on housing benefit regulations which say that people living in accommodation where the provider also offers support are exempt from the general rule limiting housing benefit to market rent levels. Three men with learning difficulties were being charged £328.00 rent by landlord Rivendell Lake Housing Association for a room in a shared house in Sheffield, when the local market rent for such a room was just £45.00. The figure did not include support costs which were funded separately by Sheffield Council. Turnbull decided that the market rent exemption should not apply in this case because support was not provided by Rivendell but by a third party, Citizenship First. The high levels of rent charged were needed to cover the mortgage taken out to buy the property.

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