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The Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011

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EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Regulations)

These Regulations amend the Housing Benefit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006, the Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 and the Housing Benefit (Executive Determinations) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008.

Regulation 2 amends the Housing Benefit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 so as to:

  • reduce the maximum size of dwelling for which local housing allowance is calculated to 4 bedrooms;

  • remove provision that allows claimants to receive up to £15 more than their actual rent;

  • require account to be taken of an additional bedroom for a non-resident carer in any case where the claimant or claimant’s partner is a person who requires overnight care;

  • provide for transitional protection for up to 9 months where the Northern Ireland Housing Executive determines a new maximum rent (LHA) because it is the anniversary of the last determination, or there is a new rate of local housing allowance applicable because the claimant has become entitled to a larger category of dwelling.

Regulation 3 makes equivalent amendments to the Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006.

Regulation 4 amends the Housing Benefit (Executive Determinations) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008 so as to:

  • remove provision requiring the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to determine a local housing allowance for properties with more than 4 bedrooms;

  • introduce a maximum local housing allowance for each category of dwelling;

  • change the method of calculating local housing allowance from the median rent to the rent at the 30th percentile in the list of rents for the category of dwelling.

In so far as these Regulations are required, for the purposes of regulations 2(7), 3(7) and 4, to be referred to the Social Security Advisory Committee under section 149(2) of the Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992, after agreement by the Social Security Advisory Committee, they have not been so referred by virtue of section 150(1)(b) of that Act. Otherwise they make in relation to Northern Ireland only provision corresponding to provision contained in Regulations made by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in relation to Great Britain and accordingly, by virtue of section 149(3) of, and paragraph 10 of Schedule 5 to, that Act, are not subject to the requirement of section 149(2) for prior reference to the Social Security Advisory Committee.

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