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The Universal Credit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016

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Room allocation

Size criteria applicable to the extended benefit unit of all renters

7.—(1) In calculating the amount of the renter’s housing costs element under Part 4 or 5 of this Schedule, a determination is to be made in accordance with the provisions referred to in sub-paragraph (2) as to the category of accommodation which it is reasonable for the renter to occupy, having regard to the number of persons who are members of the renter’s extended benefit unit (see paragraph 8).

(2) The provisions referred to in this sub-paragraph are the following provisions of this Schedule—

(a)in respect of a calculation under Part 4, paragraphs 8 to 11 and 25 to 28;

(b)in respect of a calculation under Part 5, paragraphs 8 to 11.

Extended benefit unit of a renter for purposes of this Schedule

8.—(1) For the purposes of this Schedule, the members of a renter’s extended benefit unit are—

(a)the renter (or joint renters),

(b)any child or qualifying young person for whom the renter or either joint renter is responsible, and

(c)any person who is a non-dependant.

(2) A person is a non-dependant if the person normally lives in the accommodation with the renter (or joint renters) and is none of the following—

(a)a person within sub-paragraph (1)(a) or (b);

(b)where the renter is a member of a couple claiming as a single person, the other member of the couple;

(c)a foster child;

(d)a person who is liable to make payments on a commercial basis in respect of the person’s occupation of the accommodation (whether to the renter, joint renters or another person);

(e)a person to whom the liability to make relevant payments is owed or a member of their household;

(f)a person who has already been treated as a non-dependant in relation to a claim for universal credit by another person liable to make relevant payments in respect of the accommodation occupied by the renter;

(g)a child or qualifying young person for whom no-one in the renter’s extended benefit unit is responsible.

(3) “Foster child” means a child in relation to whom the renter (or either joint renter) is a foster parent.

Number of bedrooms to which a renter is entitled

9.—(1) A renter is entitled to one bedroom for each of the following categories of persons in their extended benefit unit—

(a)the renter (or joint renters);

(b)a qualifying young person for whom the renter or either joint renter is responsible;

(c)a non-dependant who is not a child;

(d)two children who are under 10 years old;

(e)two children of the same sex;

(f)any other child.

(2) A member of the extended benefit unit to whom two or more of the descriptions in sub-paragraph (1) apply is to be allotted to whichever description results in the renter being entitled to the fewest bedrooms.

(3) In determining the number of bedrooms to which a renter is entitled, the following must also be taken into account—

(a)the provisions of paragraph 10 as to treatment of periods of temporary absence of members of the renter’s extended benefit unit;

(b)any entitlement to an additional bedroom in accordance with paragraph 11;

(c)for the purpose of any calculation under Part 4 of this Schedule, the additional requirement in paragraphs 25 to 28.

Temporary absence of member of renter’s extended benefit unit

10.—(1) A member of the renter’s extended benefit unit who is temporarily absent from the accommodation occupied by the renter is to be included in a determination of the number of bedrooms to which the renter is entitled (“relevant determination”) in the circumstances specified in sub-paragraphs (2) to (4).

(2) In the case of a child or qualifying young person the circumstances specified in this sub-paragraph are that the relevant determination relates to any time—

(a)during the first 6 months of the absence of a child or qualifying young person for whom the renter is treated as not being responsible in accordance with regulation 4(6)(a) (child or qualifying young person looked after by an authority) where, immediately before the authority started looking after them, the child or qualifying young person was included in the renter’s extended benefit unit and the renter’s award included the housing costs element,

(b)during the first 6 months of the absence of a child or qualifying young person for whom the renter is treated as not being responsible in accordance with regulation 4(6)(b) (child or qualifying young person is a prisoner) where—

(i)immediately before becoming a prisoner, the child or qualifying young person was included in the renter’s extended benefit unit and the renter’s award included the housing costs element, and

(ii)the child or qualifying young person has not been sentenced to a term in custody that is expected to extend beyond that 6 months, or

(c)before the renter or joint renter ceases to be responsible for a temporarily absent child or qualifying young person in accordance with regulation 4(7) (absence exceeding specified duration).

(3) In the case of a renter, the circumstances specified in this sub-paragraph are that the relevant determination relates to any time when—

(a)the temporary absence from Northern Ireland of the renter is disregarded in accordance with regulation 11(1) or (2) (temporary absence from Northern Ireland), or

(b)the renter is a prisoner to whom regulation 19(2) (existing award includes housing costs when person becomes a prisoner) applies.

(4) In the case of a non-dependant, the circumstances specified in this sub-paragraph are that—

(a)the relevant determination relates to any time during a period specified in sub-paragraph (5),

(b)immediately before the start of that period, the non-dependant was included in the renter’s extended benefit unit and, in the circumstances specified in sub-paragraph (5)(a) to (c), the renter’s award included the housing costs element.

(5) The specified periods are—

(a)the first month of the non-dependant’s temporary absence from Northern Ireland and, if the circumstances of the non-dependant are such as would be disregarded for the purposes of regulation 11(2) (death of a close relative), a further one month;

(b)the first 6 months of the non-dependant’s temporary absence from Northern Ireland in the circumstances described in regulation 11(3)(a) (absence solely in connection with treatment for illness or physical or mental impairment);

(c)the first 6 months that the non-dependant is a prisoner where the non-dependant has not been sentenced to a term in custody that is expected to extend beyond that 6 months;

(d)any period during which a non-dependant who is the son, daughter, step-son or step-daughter of a renter or joint renters is a member of the armed forces away on operations.

(6) Any non-dependant who is temporarily absent from the accommodation occupied by the renter in circumstances other than those specified in sub-paragraphs (4) and (5) is not to be treated as being a member of the renter’s extended benefit unit if that absence exceeds, or is expected to exceed, 6 months.

Additional room

11.—(1) A renter is entitled to an additional bedroom if they satisfy any of the following conditions—

(a)the overnight care condition (see sub-paragraph (3));

(b)the foster parent condition (see sub-paragraphs (4) and (5)); or

(c)the disabled child condition (see sub-paragraph (6)).

(2) Sub paragraph (1) applies subject to sub-paragraphs (7) to (9)

(3) A renter satisfies the overnight care condition if—

(a)they are in receipt of—

(i)the care component of disability living allowance at the middle or highest rate;

(ii)attendance allowance; or

(iii)the daily living component of personal independence payment;

(b)one or more persons who do not live in the renter’s accommodation are engaged to provide overnight care for the renter and to stay overnight in the accommodation on a regular basis; and

(c)overnight care is provided under arrangements entered into for that purpose.

(4) A renter satisfies the foster parent condition if the renter is—

(a)a foster parent; or

(b)an adopter with whom a child has been placed for adoption.

(5) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (4) “foster parent” includes a person who would be a foster parent, but for the fact that they do not currently have any child placed with them, provided that any period since the date when their last placement ended (or, if they have not yet had a child placed with them, since the date when they were approved to be a foster parent) does not exceed 12 months.

(6) A renter satisfies the disabled child condition if they or another member of their extended benefit unit are responsible for a child who would (but for the provisions of this paragraph) be expected to share a bedroom and that child is—

(a)in receipt of the care component of disability living allowance at the middle or highest rate; and

(b)by virtue of their disability, not reasonably able to share a room with another child.

(7) Where a renter, or one or both of joint renters, satisfy—

(a)the overnight care condition; or

(b)the foster parent condition,

or both, they are entitled to one additional bedroom by virtue of satisfying each condition.

(8) Where a renter, or one or both of joint renters, satisfy the disabled child condition in relation to one or more children, they are entitled to as many additional bedrooms as are necessary to ensure that each such child has their own bedroom.

(9) Where a renter, or one or both of joint renters, satisfy two or more of—

(a)the overnight care condition;

(b)the foster parent condition; or

(c)the disabled child condition,

the total number of additional bedrooms they are entitled to is determined by adding together the number of additional bedrooms which they are entitled to by virtue of satisfying each of those conditions.

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