Residents are now unable to make applications to prohibit landlords from seeking to recover the cost of legal proceedings through the service charge on behalf of other residents, without consent.
All of the appeals related to the interpretation of the Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Size Criteria) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013 regulation B13, which clarifies the circumstances where a claimant is entitled to a bedroom.
The cases that were put forward to the Supreme Court involved:
- A disabled child who required an overnight carer (Rutherford case);
- A disabled partner who could not share a room with her husband (Carmichael case);
- A disabled son regularly staying with father, but not for a significant part of the week (Daly case);
- A Claimant who suffered obsessive compulsive disorder and stored paperwork he accumulated in a room (Drage case);
- A Disabled daughter living with her father in a specially adapted property (JD case);
- One bedroom used to store equipment (Rourke case); and
- An adapted house to provide extra, high-level security under sanctuary scheme (Case A).
In both the Rutherford and Carmichael case, it was decided that as there was a clear and “transparent medical need” for the requirement of the extra room, then the support of a discretionary housing payment (DHP) would not suffice. These categories should be included and allowed as exemptions within the Regulations.
The court held there was an inexplicable inconsistency with the different treatment of adults and children. Disabled adults were allowed an extra room for an overnight carer but disabled children were not. Disabled children who required a separate room from another child, who they would usually be expected to share with, were allowed a separate room. However, adult couples where one is disabled were not expected to have separate rooms. The Secretary of State’s arguments were dismissed, and the amendments to the Regulations are expected to take place soon. This now clarifies the position and the treatment of adults and children in the circumstances above will be the same.
In the cases of JD, Rourke, Daly, and Drage, the Supreme Court did not find that the medical condition was directly connected to the reason for the requirement of the room. The use of the DHP scheme was sufficient to cover the shortfall from the bedroom tax on a case-by-case basis, and the Regulations did not need to include the specific circumstances of these cases.
In the case of A, the Supreme Court also found that there was not a requirement for A’s circumstances to be included beneath a separate heading under the Regulations’ requirement for a bedroom. The provision of DHP was again sufficient to deal with this on a case-by-case basis. In this case, it was also determined that there was no discrimination on the grounds of sex.
Additionally, it was established whether the Secretary of State breached the Public Sector Equality Duty and it was decided that the Secretary of State had considered the PSED and there was no breach.
For Registered Providers with customers that receive Housing Benefits subject to the bedroom tax, useful details to review would be as follows:
- Whether or not the local authority (or DWP) is making the correct benefit payment to the customers and whether they should be exempt from the bedroom tax;
- If they have made a DHP application; and
- If they are severely disabled adults or children with a clear medical need for an extra bedroom, as they should shortly be exempted from the bedroom tax regulations.
For more information
Please contact Zishaan Saleem for further information or advice on bedroom tax cases.
Natalie Barbosa summarises some of the legal challenges facing fundraisers in the charity sector.
We hosted a breakfast roundtable with Insider Midlands magazine that had attendees from a range of organisations addressing housing needs in the Midlands. The discussion explored JVs in more detail.
The decision of the Court of Appeal in The Harpur Trust v Brazel & Unison has made clear that employers can no longer legally calculate part-time holiday based on 12.07% of hours worked over a year.
Social landlords are seeing a rising number of Equality Act defences to possession proceedings. A recent Court of Appeal decision helps shift the likelihood of such defences succeeding.
On 31 July, the consultation period ended on MHCLG’s proposals for reforming the building safety regulatory system set out in the 'Building a Safer Future' document. We have submitted our response.
For decades now, fewer and fewer services provided by local authorities have been delivered directly by them. However, over the last couple of years, there are signs that this tide is changing.
The Government commissioned an independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in July 2018. The outcome was published in May 2019 which highlighted areas for improvement.
In 2017, the NCVO commissioned a review of the tax reliefs available to charities. The brainchild of this review was published on 17 July 2019 in the form of the Charity Tax Commission report.
In 2014, the Charity Commission released its first guidance for charities on reporting serious incidents. The Commission has recently updated this guidance.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.