One of my most recent bulletins related to the potential for Housing Benefit to be reviewed because of a piece of transitional legislation affecting tenancies operating from 1st Jnaury 1996. DWP has now accepted the legislation can assist tenants who meet the qualifying criteria by exempting them from the effects of the 14 & 25% sanctions.

DWP has only yesterday issued an URGENT HB Circular U1 – 2014 to councils, throughout GB, setting out how tenants can benefit from the “loophole” provisions. It also advises councils to review and revise retrospectively anyone who has been wrongly penalised by the sanctions. This will mean for the tenants affected, their HB will be revised and any resulting credit will invariably be paid to their landlord to offset any arrears that may have accrued.

How many tenants will be affected remains to be seen but it would certainly be worth Housing Associations reviewing their portfolio with a view to alerting tenants of the possibility of the exemption.Once identified you could have them complete the standard letter I prepared for this purpose.

It’s important you act on this issue ASAP as it looks as if DWP is intending to rush through amending legislation of some kind. If you can get claims in beforehand they should be reviewed and revised in line with the existing legislation.

If you need any further information on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact me bill@ucadvice.co.uk or phone 07733 080 389. If you’d like to find out about the range of services we offer, including access to our website www.ucadvice.co.uk specifically designed with RSLs in mind, please get in touch.

Bill Irvine

January 2014