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The Housing Benefit (Information from Landlords and Agents) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997

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Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland

1997 No. 453

HOUSING

The Housing Benefit (Information from Landlords and Agents) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997

Made

10th October 1997

Coming into operation

3rd November 1997

The Department of Health and Social Services for Northern Ireland, in exercise of powers conferred on it by sections 107, 119A and 165(1) and (4) to (6) of the Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992(1) and of all other powers enabling it in that behalf, by this statutory rule which contains only regulations made by virtue of, or consequential upon, Article 10 of the Social Security Administration (Fraud) (Northern Ireland) Order 1997(2) and is made before the end of the period of six months beginning with the coming into operation of that Article, hereby makes the following Regulations:

Citation, commencement and interpretation

1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Housing Benefit (Information from Landlords and Agents) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997 and shall come into operation on 3rd November 1997.

(2) In these Regulations—

the Act” means the Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992;

“the Housing Benefit Regulations” means the Housing Benefit (General) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987(3);

“the notice” means the notice prescribed in regulation 3(1)(b);

“relevant information” means such information as is prescribed in regulation 4;

“the requirer” means a person within regulation 2, who requires information pursuant to that regulation;

“the section” means section 119A of the Act and references to a subsection are to a subsection of the section;

“the supplier” means an appropriate person who is required, pursuant to regulations 2 and 3, to supply relevant information and any person who is not so required is not, for the purposes of supplying information pursuant to the section and these Regulations, an appropriate person,and other expressions used both in these Regulations and in the Housing Benefit Regulations shall have the same meanings in these Regulations as they have in the Housing Benefit Regulations.

(3) The Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954(4) shall apply to these Regulations as it applies to a Measure of the Assembly.

Requiring information

2.  Pursuant to the section, where a claim is made to the Executive, on which a rent allowance may be awarded, then, in the circumstances prescribed in regulation 3, the Executive, or any person authorised to exercise any function of the Executive relating to housing benefit, may require an appropriate person to supply to the Executive or person relevant information, in the manner prescribed in regulation 5.

Circumstances for requiring information

3.—(1) A person is required to supply information in the following circumstances—

(a)he is an appropriate person in relation to any dwelling in respect of which—

(i)housing benefit is being paid to an appropriate person pursuant to regulation 93 or 94 of the Housing Benefit Regulations (circumstances in which payment is to be or may be made to a landlord or the Department of the Environment)(5), or

(ii)a request has been made by an appropriate person or by the claimant for housing benefit to be so paid, and

(b)the requirer serves upon that appropriate person, whether by post or otherwise, a written notice stating that the requirer—

(i)suspects that there is or may be an impropriety in relation to a claim in respect of any dwelling wherever situate in relation to which he is an appropriate person, or

(ii)is already investigating an allegation of impropriety in relation to that person.

(2) Information required to be supplied under paragraph (1) shall be supplied to the requirer at the address specified in the notice.

Relevant information

4.—(1) The information the supplier is to supply to the requirer is that prescribed in paragraphs (2) and (3) (referred to in these Regulations as “the relevant information”).

(2) For a supplier who falls within paragraph (4) or sub-section (2)(b) (“the landlord”), the information is—

(a)where the landlord is an individual—

(i)his appropriate details;

(ii)the relevant particulars of any residential property in which he has an interest, and

(iii)the appropriate details of any body corporate, in which he is a major shareholder or of which he is a director and which has an interest in residential property;

(b)where the landlord is a trustee, except a trustee of a charity, in addition to any information that he is required to supply in accordance with sub-paragraph (a) or (c), as the case may be, the relevant particulars of any residential property held by the trust of which he is a trustee and the name and address of any beneficiary under the trust or the objects of that trust, as the case may be;

(c)where the landlord is a body corporate or otherwise not an individual, other than a charity—

(i)its appropriate details;

(ii)the relevant particulars of any residential property in which it has an interest;

(iii)the names and addresses of any directors of it;

(iv)the appropriate details of any person—

(aa)who owns 20 per cent. or more of it, or

(bb)of whom it owns 20 per cent. or more, and

(v)the names and addresses of its major shareholders;

(d)where the landlord is a charity the appropriate details relating to the landlord.

(3) For a supplier who falls within subsection (2)(c) or paragraph (5) (“the agent”), the information is—

(a)the name and address of any person (“his principal”)—

(i)to whom the agent has agreed to make payments in consequence of being entitled to receive relevant payments, or

(ii)for whom the agent is acting on behalf of or in connection with any aspect of the management of a dwelling,

as the case may be;

(b)the relevant particulars of any residential property in respect of which the agent—

(i)has agreed to make payments in consequence of being entitled to receive relevant payments, or

(ii)is acting on behalf of his principal in connection with any aspect of its management;

(c)where the agent is an individual—

(i)the relevant particulars of any residential property in which he has an interest;

(ii)the appropriate details of any body corporate or any person otherwise not an individual, in which he is a major shareholder or of which he is a director and which has any interest in residential property, or

(d)where the agent is a body corporate or other than an individual—

(i)the relevant particulars of any residential property in which it has an interest;

(ii)the names and addresses of any directors of or major shareholders in the agent, and

(iii)the appropriate details of any person—

(aa)who owns 20 per cent. or more of the agent, or

(bb)of whom the agent owns 20 per cent. or more.

(4) A supplier falls within this paragraph (landlord receiving rent), if he falls within subsection (2)(a), but does not fall within paragraph (5).

(5) A supplier falls within this paragraph (agents receiving the rent), if he falls within subsection (2)(a) and has agreed to make payments, in consequence of being entitled to receive relevant payments, to a person falling within subsection (2)(b).

(6) For the purposes of this regulation—

“appropriate details” means the name of the person and (in the case of a company) its registered office and, in any case, the full postal address, including postcode, of the principal place of business of that person and the telephone and facsimile numbers (if any) of that place;

“charity” has the same meaning as in the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 1964(6);

“major shareholder” means, where a body corporate is a company limited by shares, any person holding one tenth or more of the issued shares in that company and, in any other case, all the owners of that body;

“relevant particulars” means the full postal address, including post code, and number of current lettings of or within that residential property and, if that property includes two or more dwellings, that address and the number of such lettings for each such dwelling;

“residential property” includes any premises, situated within the United Kingdom—

(i)

used or which has, within the last six months, been used, or

(ii)

which may be used or is adapted for use,

as residential accommodation,and other expressions used in this regulation and also in the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986(7) shall have the same meaning in this regulation as they have in that Order.

Manner of supply of information

5.—(1) Subject to the variations specified in paragraph (2), the relevant information shall be supplied in typewritten or printed form to the requirer, at the address specified in the notice, within 4 weeks of the service of the notice on the supplier.

(2) At the request of the supplier and with the written agreement of the requirer, the relevant information shall be supplied—

(a)in handwritten or electronic form, or

(b)within 8 weeks of the service of the notice on the supplier.

Criminal offence

6.  Any failure by the supplier to supply relevant information to the requirer as, when and how required under these Regulations shall be an offence under section 107 of the Act and there may be recovered from the supplier, on summary conviction for this offence, penalties not exceeding—

(a)for any one offence, level 3 on the standard scale, or

(b)for an offence of continuing any such failure after conviction, £40 for each day on which it is so continued.

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department of Health and Social Services for Northern Ireland on

L.S.

John O'Neill

Assistant Secretary

10th October 1997.

Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the Regulations.)

These Regulations implement provisions of the Social Security Administration (Fraud) (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 (S.I. 1997/1182 (N.I. 11)) (“the Order”). Regulation 2 gives the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in relation to the administration of housing benefit and any person exercising such functions for them a power to require certain landlords and their agents to provide information as to their interests in residential property, including that of any associated bodies (regulations 3 and 4).

Regulation 5 makes provision as to the time when and way in which that information is to be provided to the person requiring it.

Regulation 6 makes it a criminal offence to fail to provide such information, punishable by a fine at level 3 (currently £1,000), plus, for a continuing offence after conviction, a daily penalty of £40 for each day on which it continues.

Section 119A of the Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 (c. 8) (“the Administration Act”), one of the enabling provisions under which these Regulations are made, is inserted by Article 10 of the Order and is brought into operation on 8th October 1997, by virtue of the Social Security Administration (Fraud) (1997 Order) (Commencement No. 2) Order (Northern Ireland) 1997 (S.R. 1997 No. 449 (C. 26). As the Regulations are made before the end of a period of 6 months from the commencement of that Article they are accordingly exempt, by virtue of section 150(5)(b) of the Administration Act, from reference to the Social Security Advisory Committee.

(1)

1992 c. 8; section 119A was inserted by Article 10 of the Social Security Administration (Fraud) (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 (S.I. 1997/1182 (N.I. 11))

(2)

S.I. 1997/1182 (N.I. 11); see section 150(5)(b) of the Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992

(3)

S.R. 1987 No. 461; relevant amending regulations are S.R. 1994 No. 335, S.R. 1996 Nos. 181, 334 and 448 and S.R. 1997 Nos. 22 and 452

(5)

Regulation 93 was amended by S.R. 1996 Nos. 334 and 448 and S.R. 1997 Nos. 22 and 452 and regulation 94 was amended by S.R. 1994 No. 335, S.R. 1996 Nos. 181 and 448 and S.R. 1997 Nos. 22 and 452

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