The issue where the Housing Costs Element included in a UC claimant's award only covers 50% of their rent because they have an 'untidy tenancy' remains a big problem.
A typical 'untidy tenancy' arises when a couple with a joint tenancy split up and one of them moves out, and, their joint tenancy has not been surrendered, assigned or transferred.
When the remaining tenant makes a claim for UC and declares they have a joint tenancy with someone other than their partner, the UC computer system will see that they have a joint tenancy with someone other than their partner, and it will automatically split the rent in half - assuming the other joint tenant will pay the other half.
Of course the other joint tenant will not be doing this, leaving the UC claimant with not enough income to pay their rent. But as they have a joint and several liability to pay 100% of the rent they should have their Housing Cost Element based on 100% - which is why we devised a Standard Letter to request this.
We have recently revisited and revamped this letter, so it now includes a sample journal entry that the claimant can put on their UC account challenging the fact that the DWP are only covering 50% of their rent when they are in fact entitled to the full 100%:
I would like to request a Mandatory Reconsideration of your decision to only cover 50% of my rent, and instead ‘treat me as liable’ for the full 100%.
I have an ‘untidy tenancy’. I am a joint tenant with xxxxx, but they left the property on xx/xx/xxxx, do not have an intention to return, and are not paying anything towards the rent. My landlord is unable to remove them from the tenancy for legal reasons.
As I am liable for, and being charged, 100% of the rent, and failure to pay the whole rent will result in my landlord taking action to evict me, the Housing Costs Element in my UC award should cover 100% of my eligible rent, as it would be unreasonable not to do so.
If you require any further information, either from me or my landlord, please let me know as soon as possible as I am currently falling behind with my rent which is causing me a lot of distress and worry.
Please contact us if you continue to have problems with the DWP refusing to increase the amount of the Housing Costs Element despite the claimant putting this on their journal.