Normally a HB claimant moving within a LA area and having no other change in circumstances would not need to claim UC - even if the new property was in a Full / Digital UC service area. They can, therefore, stay on the legacy benefit system. This is because they do not need to make a new clam for any of the benefits UC is replacing.
However, we have come across a couple of cases where such a move did trigger the need to claim UC.
This was where, although the working age claimant was moving within the LA area, they had delayed moving into their new property AND their liability on their old property had ended*.
So because there was a break in their HB claim, the move could not be treated as a change in circumstances. As such, they could not make a new claim for HB and needed to claim UC instead.
*In many cases there will be a continued liability, either because they moved in on the tenancy start date, or they are still liable for rent on their old property at the point of move- due to having to give 4 weeks notice on their old property and having unavoidable dual liability.
Where the tenant has remained living in the old property after tenancy termination, one way round this could be for the landlord to make a use and occupation charge (or even mesne profits under HB*) for that property. Therefore, as the claimant retains liability to pay a charge on the property they have left immediately prior to moving to their new home, there is no break in the HB claim.
BUT if the tenant had decided to live elsewhere for a few days - whilst decorating / waiting for gas/electric to be turned on / on holiday / arrested and kept in prison for a few days etc. etc -then the only way round this would be for the landlord to change the tenancy end date,in agreement with the departing tenant.
If the delay in moving in was something outside of the tenant's control and they'd moved all their belongings in to their new home, then they could argue that they should be deemed to have moved in on the tenancy start date. The trouble with this is that it may take some time before the HB Office make a decision on this request, and if they decide not to treat the claimant as moving in to their new home on their tenancy start date,then the claimant will have to claim UC and will have missed out on receiving help with their rent for those first few weeks.
(*remember mesne profits cannot be covered by UC)