Housing and Discretionary Housing Payments

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Date of Request:      03 August 2015         

Date of Disclosure: 24 August 2015

Please find Devon County Council’s response to each of the questions below;

Voids

  1. How many empty council homes (voids) did you have on 1 August 2015? 2014? 2013?
  2. What was the average void time taken to re-let a property on 1 August 2015? 2014? 2013?

 

Bedroom tax 

  1. How many social tenants in your local authority were experiencing a reduction to their housing benefit because of the removal of the spare room subsidy on 1 August 2015? 2014? 2015?
  2. How many tenants have downsized due to the removal of the spare room subsidy as of 1 August 2015? 2014? 2013?
  3. How many tenants have moved out of the local authority area due to the removal of the spare room subsidy as of 1 August 2015? 2014? 2013?
  4. How many tenants in your local authority have been evicted due to rent arrears compounded by the removal of the spare room subsidy?

 

Benefit cap

  1. On 1 August 2015, how many social tenants in your local authority were experiencing a reduction to their housing benefit because of the benefit cap? 1 August 2014? 2015?
  2. How many tenants have downsized due to the benefit cap as of 1 August 2015? 2014? 2013?
  3. How many tenants have moved out of the local authority area due to the benefit cap as of 1 August 2015? 2014? 2013?
  4. How many tenants in your local authority have been evicted due to rent arrears compounded by the benefit cap?

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

 

  1. When you initially wrote your council’s policy on discretionary housing payment (DHP), did it contain requirements that potential recipients needed to find employment, or that DHP would be reduced for people spending money on luxury items eg alcohol cigarettes?
  2. Since then, have you updated your DHP policy? When? Have you introduced new requirements for some DHP applications – such as a requirement to seek employment – or reduced/turned down DHP awards for those spending on luxuries, eg alcohol, cigarettes?
  3. How many applications for DHP have you turned down or reduced because of requirements for some DHP applications – such as a requirement to seek employment – or reduced/turned down DHP awards for those spending on luxuries, eg alcohol, cigarettes? – As of 1 August 2015? 2014? 2013?

Universal credit

  1. How many tenants in your local authority have been evicted due to rent arrears compounded by universal credit?
  2. How many applications have you sent to get the housing element of universal credit paid directly to the landlord (an Alternative Payment Arrangement – APA) at 1 August 2015?
  3. How many of these have been successful applications?
  4. At 1 August 2015, what was the average time between sending off an APA application and receiving the housing element money in your bank account?

 

Homelessness

  1. How many more people do you expect to be made homeless in your local authority because of the reduction in the benefit cap to £23,000/£20,000?

 

Please note that Devon County Council is not a housing authority nor are we responsible for making Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP). Therefore the Council does not hold the information requested.  I understand that responsibility for housing and for administering DHP rests with each of the District and Unitary Councils in Devon.  I therefore suggest that you contact each of these organisations directly to obtain the information requested.

In the interest of providing you advice and assistance, please find details for each of the district councils in Devon on our website at;

http://www.devon.gov.uk/district_councils.htm

Details for the unitary councils of Plymouth City and Torbay Borough Council are available below;

http://www.devon.gov.uk/unitary_councils.htm