My client who is a single parent with a 9 month old daughter has been claiming and receiving UC which included a housing element up until May 2020. DWP has now made a decision not to pay her a housing element because they do no believe the relationship with her landlord to be a commercial one. Her rent is £600/month and the help she has received through UC has been restricted to £480/month due to the LHA. I am helping her appeal against the decision to not pay her the housing element. She is related to her landlord but he is a distant cousin of her mother and so not a close relative. He has provided her with a tenancy agreement which she has shown to DWP and has also confirmed in writing that he would evict her if she fell behind with her rent.
The problem I have is that DWP has suspended her UC entirely (not just the housing element) and will not lift the suspension until she tells them that she has no housing costs. I received the following email from DWP confirming this:
“As discussed, I have looked through ******‘s UC notes and journal messages and she has been advised numerous times over a period of about 6 weeks that in order for her claim to be de-suspended she would need to remove her housing costs. This is because a decision maker has decided that she is not entitled to receive them as part of her claim. Once she has done this, we can then look at paying her the allowances for herself and her children.
****** has also been given the information on how to appeal her refusal of housings costs. A letter was uploaded to her journal on 09.05.20, giving full written reasons as to why her housing costs were disallowed and how to appeal going forward.
She was also given this information again on 04.06.20, via a journal message from a Case Manager.
If you are able to advise ****** accordingly, it would be most appreciated, as we are now concerned that she will be left without payment and her next payment date has already passed. Once the changes are made, I can contact a Case Manager and ask them to look at paying her anything she may be due”.
Can DWP do this? The client has a tenancy agreement and has to pay £600/month in rent. So why would she tell them she has no housing costs? I cannot find anything in the ADM that allows them to do this