Yesterday (Saturday) I put out a post about the FACT (yes fact!) that if you have been in receipt of HB since before 1 January 1996 then you are exempt from the bedroom tax. This is contained in HB regulations and specifically in the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006. Hereafter called CPR 2006.
This seemingly obscure regulation and everyone has missed it first surfaced or at least first came to my attention from the Rightsnet discussion site – in brief a very reputable and well regarded site used by benefit professionals. It was posted by “HB Anorak” on 2 December and I have referenced this in the post of yesterday which has gone ballistic all over social media.
Please look at that link before you comment that Shelter CAB and NHF et al have never heard of this and other such comments that suggest this must be a hoax. It isnt.
The opening discussion is very interesting on Rightsnet:
“I have just been told by an LA appeals officer that she has been directed by the Tribunal in several bedroom tax cases to state whether the claimant has been receiving HB continuously since 1/1/1996. This highlights a loophole that had not occurred to me.”
So what can we glean from that?
- This issue came from a Tribunal judge!!!!!
- The Tribunal judge DIRECTED a LA appeals officer to look at this existing HB regulation!
So this issue has not been invented and has very valid origins coming as it does for a judge presiding over bedroom tax tribunal cases. Yes we all missed this and by all that means every single HB Authority that HAVE to look at this. It also includes the Shelter, CABx NHF and all the other apparent ‘usual suspects’ who appear to have authority and credibility with so many. I missed it too!
Google “Statutory Instrument 217 of 2006 ” and you are taken to it and then look at pages 32 to 33 of this .pdf file. You could even then go to look at SI 2870 of 2007 when the definition of “eligible rent” was slightly amended but to no consequence for the protected 1996 issue and then you could access the A4/2012 HB circular and the SI 3040 of 2012 which introduced the bedroom tax to see if this protected 1996 issue has been modified, removed or amended for the bedroom tax. It hasn’t!
Or you could go back to HB Anorak and the rightnets discussion and read the second paragraph which reference the CPR 2006 and states:
“That paragraph applies mainly to ‘exempt accommodation’, but it also applies to any HB case (absolutely any case without exception, including rebates and HA general needs) where the claimant has been getting HB since 1/1/96.”
The above is my emphasis.
HB Anorak then goes on to discuss this is great detail which will go way above the heads of the average tenant in a discussion that runs to 9 printed pages.
All the naysayers and cynics have all the information they need to assess the ‘provenance’ of this issue and that provenance is the fact this is in HB Regulations and we all missed it, including the DWP. (No surprise there then but that has huge implications HINT!)
To all the naysayers who are attacking me over this or expressing incredulity that the issue must be a fake (as some have said the Exeter letter is!) or a hoax or even arrogance and attention seeking from me that gives tenants false hope (where have we heard that one before ….ahem CIH?) then here you have all the information you need to make up your own minds!
This originated from a very thorough judge presiding over bedroom tax appeal cases and the issue is definitely a runner. So expend your energies working out what this means rather than speculating that just because X,Y and Z have not heard of it it must be a hoax.
I am not and have never claimed to be a HB expert but I have a lot of experience there and checked this out before I posted the blog yesterday. HB Anorak IS a HB expert and well known and highly regarded in this field and admitted that this issue ‘had not occurred to me’ and the moniker “HB Anorak” is a self-deprecating one of a HB ‘geek.’ Yet HB Anoraks ‘provenance or credibility is not the issue here (and its top drawer!) just as mine is not the provenance is in the HB Regulations themselves and the references are all here.
Aside and other thoughts: The regulations refer to the same dwelling with the exception of force majeure issues that render the dwelling uninhabitable and ONLY that exceptional circumstances. Yet that would rule out this protection from those who had to flee domestic violence and surely cannot have been the intention to do so! So not only does the general application of the protected pre 1/1/1996 position need to be ruled upon, there also needs a ruling on if a claimant has lost this protection if they had to flee domestic violence and abuse. If that applies to your case I would still ask for a reconsideration or an appeal on that specific set of circumstances too.
Yet another unforeseen issue with this back of a fag packet bedroom tax policy? Yep!
I trust the above puts an end to the hoax and incredulity nonsense.