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The Universal Credit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016

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Housing costs

The housing costs element

26.—(1) Paragraphs (2) to (4) specify for the purposes of Article 16 of the Order (housing costs)—

(a)what is meant by payments in respect of accommodation (see paragraph (2)),

(b)the circumstances in which a claimant is to be treated as liable or not liable to make such payments (see paragraph (3)),

(c)the circumstances in which a claimant is to be treated as occupying or not occupying accommodation and in which land used for the purposes of any accommodation is to be treated as included in the accommodation (see paragraph (4)).

(2) The payments in respect of accommodation must be—

(a)payments within the meaning of paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 (“rent payments”);

(b)payments within the meaning of paragraph 5 of that Schedule (“owner-occupier payments”);

(c)payments within the meaning of paragraph 8 of that Schedule (“service charge payments”).

(3) The circumstances of the liability to make the payments must be such that—

(a)the claimant (or either joint claimant)—

(i)has a liability to make the payments which is on a commercial basis, or

(ii)is treated under Part 1 of Schedule 2 as having a liability to make the payments, and

(b)none of the provisions in Part 2 of that Schedule applies to treat the claimant (or either joint claimant) as not being liable to make the payments.

(4) The circumstances in which the accommodation is occupied must be such that—

(a)the claimant is treated under Part 1 of Schedule 3 as occupying the accommodation as their home (including any land used for the purposes of the accommodation which is treated under that Part as included in the accommodation), and

(b)none of the provisions in Part 2 of that Schedule applies to treat the claimant as not occupying that accommodation.

(5) References in these Regulations—

(a)to the housing costs element are to the amount to be included in a claimant’s award under Article 16 of the Order,

(b)to a claimant who meets the payment condition, the liability condition or the occupation condition are, respectively, to any claimant in whose case the requirements of paragraph (2), (3) or (4) are met (and any reference to a claimant who meets all of the conditions specified in this regulation is to be read accordingly).

Amount of the housing costs element – renters and owner-occupiers

27.—(1) This regulation provides for the amount to be included in an award in respect of an assessment period in which the claimant meets all the conditions specified in regulation 26.

(2) Schedule 4 has effect in relation to any claimant where—

(a)the claimant meets all of those conditions, and

(b)the payments for which the claimant is liable are rent payments (whether or not service charge payments are also payable).

(3) Schedule 5 has effect in relation to any claimant where—

(a)the claimant meets all of those conditions, and

(b)the payments for which the claimant is liable are—

(i)owner-occupier payments (whether or not service charge payments are also payable), or

(ii)service charge payments only.

(4) Where both paragraphs (2) and (3) apply in relation to a claimant who occupies accommodation under an equity-sharing lease—

(a)an amount is to be calculated under each of Schedules 4 and 5, and

(b)the amount of the claimant’s housing costs element is the aggregate of those amounts.

(5) Where, in a case to which paragraph (4) applies, there is a liability for service charge payments, the amount in respect of those payments is to be calculated under Schedule 4.

(6) “Equity-sharing lease” means a lease of land, the general effect of which is to provide—

(a)that, in consideration for the granting of the lease, the lessee shall pay a capital sum, representing a part payment in respect of the cost of acquisition of the premises demised, and a rent, and

(b)that the lessee may make additional part payments towards the said cost of acquisition and may exercise an option to purchase the whole or part of the lessor’s reversion in the premises demised.

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