Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
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Rent Issues: Occupying - Temporary Absences
KEY FACTS:

 

  • To get Housing Benefit the claimant must occupy the property as their normal home. But in some situations people can be treated as occupying it.
     
  • HB can continue for absences of 4, 13 or 52 weeks, so long as the claimant has an intention to return. The time limit will depend on the reason for absence.
     
  • If the claimant was not on HB before the temporary absence, they can make a new claim (so long as they are in a category of people who can make a new claim for HB) even though not living in the property if they meet all the normal eligibility rules and the temporary absence rules. 
     
  • The home must not have been sublet during the absence period.
    Reg 7 para 11-17 of the working age HB Regs 2006 / State Pension age HB Regs 2006

  • Note there are special rules for where a property has been closed by police (for example because it has been used as a drug house); and where a claimant has been decanted to another property while their own homes is being repaired.
     
  • As an absence is a change in circumstances the claimant should be advised to notify the HB Office that they are going away, albeit temporarily. This can prevent problems that can occur where the HB Office find out at a later date that the claimant is absent from their property and suspend or terminate the HB claim.
     
  • If the claimant does not notify the HB Office that they are absent, they might think no-one will know they have gone, but because a HB Office might carry out visits and leave cards and letters when no-one is in, this is a risk.
     
  • If the claimant has left, and is unable to claim HB, and is not paying the rent, then in certain circumstances a person left at home can be treated as liable for the rent even if they are not the tenant. They can then claim HB or UC housing costs themselves.
 
Click on the links below for further information.
 






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