You’ll be aware from one of my most recent bulletins of some significant successes at First-tier appeal tribunals concerning the Bedroom Tax, and, in particular the Judgements of Simon Collins QC Judge of the First-tier where he raised some serious questions about how to treat use historically used as, for example, dining rooms or those that were small in area and below the level mentioned in the “space standards” regulations.
As I predicted, DWP having examined the judgements is now planning to appeal the decisions even though Fife Council has previously intimated it wouldn’t. DWP has just issued HB U6/2013 which I’ve uploaded to the website. It states:
“Removal of the spare room subsidy –
It has recently been reported that two First-tier Tribunal cases resulted in
findings that rooms designated by the landlord as bedrooms were not
capable of being such for the purposes of the Removal of the Spare
Room Subsidy (RSRS) regulations. This is because the judge
determined that the rooms did not satisfy the “space standard” as set out
in section 326 of the Housing Act 1985 and section 137 of the Housing
(Scotland) Act 1987 which is used to assess statutory overcrowding…………………………………………………….. The Department for Work and Pensions will seek permission to appeal against the decisions given in these particular cases as space standards do not relate to the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy, nor should a dining or living room be classified as a bedroom notwithstanding that the relevant Housing Act provisions would class them as such (see paragraph 3 below)”.
So acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, DWP will now seek leave to appeal the decision, hoping to convince an Upper-tier judge that Mr Collins decisions are erroneous in law and so should be set aside. It’s a rather unusual situation, especially if the local authority appears, as it’s entitled to, and argues differently.
Interesting times, especially for Ian Duncan Smith and our noble Lord Freud!
I’ll keep you posted as things develop. In the meantime, anyone needing further clarification on this critically important topic can write to me firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll update this information on the website. For those of you who are not currently members and would like to join or access a trial of the site, please contact email@example.com