Exempt accommodation [SA1]

1. Residents in “exempt accommodation” are protected from the various schemes of rent restriction that have been introduced into the HB scheme since 2nd January 1996. 

2. This does not mean that the Council will meet unreasonable amounts or unreasonable increases in the rent of such accommodation. It must, however, consider the various tests and safeguards found in the updated version of the pre-January 1996 rules.1A – The restriction on unreasonable payments for working-age claimants is now found in Housing Benefit Regulations 2006/213 , reg 13 as inserted by Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006/217, sch 3, para 5(2)
B – The restriction on unreasonable payments for non-working-age claimants is now found in Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations 2006/214 reg 13 as inserted by Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006/217, sch 3, para 5(2)
C – The restrictions on rent increases for working-age claimants is now found in Housing Benefit Regulations 2006/213 , reg 13ZA as inserted by Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006/217, sch 3, para 5(3)
D – The restriction on unreasonable payments for non-working-age claimants is now found in Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations 2006/214 reg 13ZA as inserted by Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006/217, sch 3, para 5(3)

Definition

3. This section describes the conditions that must be met for a dwelling to be designated “exempt accommodation”.

The landlord

4. The landlord must have a particular legal status. Exempt accommodation means accommodation which is “provided by”:2Universal Credit Regulations 2013/376 sch 1 para 1 def: exempt accommodation,  Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006/217 sch 3 para 4(10) def: exempt accommodation para b

  1. a housing association;
  2. a registered charity;
  3. voluntary organisation; or 
  4. a non-metropolitan county council in England. 

Provision of care, support or supervision

5. The identified landlord or a person acting on its behalf must also provide the resident with care, support or supervision.3Universal Credit Regulations 2013/376 sch 1 para 1 def: exempt accommodation,  Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006/217 sch 3 para 4(10) def: exempt accommodation para b 

Resettlement places

6. The term exempt accommodation also includes accommodation (a resettlement place) that was in receipt of a Resettlement Grant. 4Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006/217 sch 3 para 4(10) def: “exempt accommodation” para a (These were formerly nationally run resettlement units that provided temporary accommodation for homeless people that were transferred to local providers).

Purpose of the “exempt accommodation” definition

Exclusion from UC help with housing costs

7. For working age claimants “exempt accommodation” is also a category of specified accommodation. Consequently, working age UC claimants living in exempt accommodation are not entitled to UC help with their housing costs.5Welfare Reform Act 2012, s 11, Universal Credit Regulations 2013/376, sch 1 paras 2, 3(h), 3A Help with their housing costs is provided by the HB scheme and may be paid direct to the landlord on request.

Exemption from the main HB rent restriction rules

8. The “exempt accommodation” definition provides HB claimants with exemption from the main HB rent restriction schemes that have been introduced from January 1996 ie.: 

  1. the local reference rent rules; and 
  2. the local housing allowance rules. 

HB excluded from the benefit cap calculation

9. A limit is set on the total amount of welfare benefits many working-age claimants can receive. This limit is known as the benefit cap. 

10. Working age claimants in receipt of HB living in exempt accommodation do not have their weekly HB award included in the calculation of the benefit cap. They potentially get a higher amount of total benefit income.6Welfare Reform Act 2012, s96, 96A, 97; Housing Benefit Regulations 2006/213, 75A, 75C(2)(a), 75H(2)

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