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Neutral Citation Number: 2013 UKUT 26 AAC
Reported Number:
File Number: CH 1140 2011
Appellant: DM
Respondent: LB of Lewisham and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Judge/Commissioner: Judge J. Mesher
Date Of Decision: 16/01/2013
Date Added: 31/01/2013
Main Category: Housing and council tax benefits
Main Subcategory: occupation of the home, two homes and temporary absence
Secondary Category: Human rights law
Secondary Subcategory: article 14 (non-discrimination)
Notes: Court of Appeal decision reported as [2014] AACR 14. Housing benefit – payment in respect of two dwellings – whether delay in moving necessary in order to adapt the new dwelling to meet disablement needs The claimant, who was in receipt of housing benefit, required kidney dialysis three times a week. He accepted the offer of a new property and his tenancy commenced on 26 October 2009. However, he was unable to move before 8 November 2009 as the new property had been left in a dirty condition and needed cleaning and redecorating if he was to avoid potentially serious infections. The Council accepted that the claimant could not have moved before 8 November but refused to award housing benefit in respect of the new property before that date. The claimant appealed to the First-tier Tribunal. His appeal was dismissed on the ground that, in the light of R(H) 4/07, regulation 7(8)(c)(i) of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/213) did not apply because the delay in moving into the dwelling was not “necessary in order to adapt the dwelling to meet the disablement needs” of the claimant. In R(H) 4/07 it had been held that adapting a dwelling required a change to the fabric or structure of the building and not simply redecorating or carpeting the dwelling. The claimant appealed to the Upper Tribunal. The Secretary of State was added as a second respondent and opposed the appeal. The appeal was dismissed and the claimant appealed to the Court of Appeal. Held, allowing the appeal and substituting a decision in favour of the claimant, that: 1. having regard to the underlying purpose of the legislation, “adapt” was to be construed as meaning “to make fit” or “to change or modify to suit a purpose”; 2. adapting a dwelling need not involve works of any particular type and specifically need not involve any physical interference with the structure of the dwelling or any physical addition to it; 3. a dwelling can fairly be said to have been adapted if the process which it has undergone has resulted in it being changed to make it more suitable for the needs of the disabled person.
Decision(s) to Download: CH 1140 2011-00.doc CH 1140 2011-00.doc  
[2014] AACR 14bv.rtf [2014] AACR 14bv.rtf