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Upper Tribunal grants permission to appeal on house-boat housing benefit case

On 9 April 2018 the Upper Tribunal granted permission to appeal a decision of the FTT concerning a boat-dweller’s entitlement to housing benefit.

The case concerns an itinerant boat-dweller who applied for housing benefit to cover certain costs (namely, a boat safety certificate, boat insurance and a boat licence), which are required under s.17 British Waterways Act 1995 to keep a boat on the canal. The Respondent, Camden LBC, concluded that these costs were not payable under reg. 12(1)(d) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006. The FTT upheld that decision relying on the case of R v Bristol CC ex p Jacobs (1999) 31 HLR 841.

The appeal is brought on two grounds:

(1)   The FTT’s interpretation of reg. 12 was wrong. These costs are recoverable under reg.12(1)(d) and/or 12(1)(f). The analysis and decision of Commissioner Williams in CH/844/2002 is to be preferred to Jacobs; and

(2)   Reg. 12 should be read down using interpretative powers under s.3 Human Rights Act 1998 to avoid a breach of the appellant’s Art. 8 rights.

Justin Bates and Brooke Lyne were instructed by the Bar Pro Bono Unit, and appeared on behalf the appellant.