£10,000 housing benefit win for former homeowner facing eviction

The new First Tier Tribunal centre

Govan Law Centre (GLC) has secured a First Tier Tribunal housing benefit appeal for almost £10,000 on behalf of a former homeowner in Glasgow who was facing eviction.

The client, who had been referred to GLC by local MP, Chris Stephens, had jointly owned her home with her father but when he died, one half share of the home was split amongst beneficiaries who wanted to realise their inheritance.

GLC said the client, along with the other beneficiaries, ultimately sold their shares in the home to a commercial landlord as she was “impecunious and had no other options”.

Housing benefit rules state that a previous owner who becomes a private tenant of their home has to wait five years before they can apply for housing benefit.

Our client had lost her first tribunal appeal and was facing a sheriff court eviction action to which there was no defence as she had more than three months of arrears. Govan Law Centre solicitors managed to persuade the court to discharge some seven diets of proof over more than a year, pending the outcome of the benefit appeal.

GLC solicitor advocate, Mike Dailly, pursued a successful Upper Tribunal appeal, resulting in a successful fresh First Tier Tribunal.

The local authority opposed the award of housing on four separate legal grounds:

  • there was no liability to make payments (regulation 8);
  • the tenancy agreement was not on a commercial basis (regulation 9(1)(a));
  • the claimant previously owned the house and could have continued to occupy without selling (regulation 9(1)(h);
  • and that liability was created to take advantage of the housing benefit scheme.
  • Judge Newall rejected all of these grounds and set aside the local authority’s decision from 2016

    The client’s rent arrears will now fall to less than one month, and she will be entitled to seek dismissal of the eviction action once payment is made.

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