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 — What we do

We provide advice and training in relation to the housing benefit scheme including representation before the First-Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal

  • Advice

    We solve problems that require specialist advice

  • Representation

    We provide professional representation

  • Training

    We show you how to run your services effectively

Specialist housing benefit advice

Whether you need advice about a local authority request for information or support regarding a complex housing benefit issue, our experienced team is on hand to ensure you receive clear guidance at every step.

We will

  • Advise you on all aspects of the housing benefit scheme
  • Respond to correspondence from housing benefit departments
  • Liaise and meet with housing benefit departments on your behalf
  • Ensure you are managing housing benefit issues effectively
  • Help you receive housing benefit payments quickly for new occupants
  • Advise you on the merits of appealing a housing benefit decision
  • Draft specialised tenancies or licence agreements for your supported accommodation
  • Attend board or trustee meetings in a specialist advisory capacity

Establishing your status

For your occupants to receive the appropriate housing benefit payments, it’s essential your accommodation is awarded the correct status. We can assist you in obtaining 'exempt accommodation' or 'specified accommodation' status for your supported housing services.

We will

  • Provide you with an overview of the ‘exempt accommodation’ and 'specified accommodation' rules
  • Ensure the appropriate support documentation is in place
  • Advise you on how to meet the criteria as a not-for-profit organisation
  • Ensure your constitutional documents comply with legal requirements
  • Draft specialised tenancies or licence agreements for your supported accommodation
  • Produce management and support agreements
  • Provide relevant job descriptions and employment contracts
  • Liaise with housing benefit departments to agree exempt accommodation or specified accommodation status

Setting your rents

Are your occupants receiving all the housing benefit they’re entitled to? We have helped hundreds of not-for-profit organisations optimise their rental income so they can provide the best quality services to the vulnerable occupants they house.

We will

  • Assign one of our specialists to assist you in setting your rent or licence fee
  • Advise you on all the relevant costs that can be claimed via the housing benefit scheme
  • Help you calculate the time staff spent providing care, support or supervision
  • Identify the housing benefit eligible and ineligible service charges and core rent charges
  • Check you have evidence to support your charges
  • Prepare a schedule of charges for your property and submit the information to the housing benefit department
  • Respond to correspondence from the housing benefit department regarding the charges
  • Negotiate the new charges with the housing benefit department with reference to legislation and case-law

Representation before Local Authorities

When you need to ‘make your case’ to a local authority it's essential to have the right team on your side. We can request a statement of reasons regarding a housing benefit decision; gather evidence and draft a response to the council; and, of course, you can instruct us to help your occupants initiate appeals. We can also accompany you to meetings and negotiate settlements on your behalf with the local authority.

Representation at tribunal hearings

If the matter is already with the Tribunals Service, we can prepare written submissions, draft witness statemements, manage tribunal directions and provide representation on your occupants behalf or by instructing a barrister (in England and Wales) or advocate (in Scotland). This is because we have Licensed Access with the Bar Standards Board and are recognised by the Faculty of Advocates as a Direct Access Body.

Judicial Review and Ombudsman complaints

If your case needs immediate intervention it may be appropriate to initiate judicial review proceedings to challenge the way in which a decision has been made. In other cases it may be advisable to involve the Local Government Ombudsman who will investigate the complaint in a fair and independent way. If this is the case, we can work closely with you through every stage of the process.

Customised courses

All our training sessions focus on aspects of the housing benefit scheme as it applies to supported accommodation. For all our customised courses, we work with you to assess the areas of training you and your staff need and create tailored course materials that target specific areas of the scheme. All courses are presented by one of our housing benefit experts who can deliver the sessions at your premises.

General courses

Some recent courses have included: an overview of exempt accommodation (basic and advanced levels); avoiding non-commerciality and contrivance problems; understanding excessive and ineligible service charges; dealing with rent restrictions in exempt accommodation; managing housing benefit appeals and representing at the First-tier Tribunal.

Who should attend?

Whether you’re a trustee, director, senior manager or front-line staff member for a supported housing charity or organisation, you will find our customised or general courses give you and your organisation practical, applicable knowledge. All our one-day, half-day, evening courses, seminars and briefings focus on how housing benefit legislation affects you and your occupants.

Our Services

We deliver a friendly and cost-efficient service to UK supported housing providers

If you’re a supported housing provider, you may feel frustrated and overwhelmed by the complexities of the housing benefit scheme. We’re here to help, through our specialist consultancy services.

In our experience, many issues can be addressed with an exchange of documents and a number of telephone calls. But where matters need to be dealt with at a higher level, we can represent your organisation and your occupants in any dispute with your local authority, as well as representing your occupants at a tribunal. If necessary we can also instruct a barrister or advocate directly to act for you or on your occupants behalf.

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