1. Expert Q&A: Benefits - Weds 23 October, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of benefits. It will be hosted by Lauren from our Knowledge Services team. She'll be answering your questions on Wednesday 23 October between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

  1. Jo O

    Jo O Registered User

    Oct 14, 2010
    8
    Manchester England
    #1 Jo O, Jun 1, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2015
    Does anyone have any experience of dealing with a Council re property matters? Our Mum has been in a care home for 4 years now and is very well looked after, I would say she is in an advanced state, she's had dementia for around 7-8 years now. Mum's money has shrunk to around £20k now, the council assessed her and as my brother and his wife (aged 60) live in Mum and Dad's house (dad died in 2010) the council disregarded the property in June 2014, they have now revoked that decision. I am trying to understand how they can do this, regardless of new guidelines from April 2015 in the care act. I'm probably fighting a losing battle but just trying to get a meeting with someone is proving impossible, passed from pillar to post with no one taking ownership. It's very frustrating so thought I'd ask on here.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    4,826
    UK
    Why don't you talk to Citizens Advice, when dealing with local authorities I have found them very helpful.
     
  3. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,783
    Salford
    Hi Jo
    Just to be clear, your brother and his wife lived there before your mum went into care? They didn't sell a house and move in and they don't own another property?
    Have the council given any reason why they've reversed their decision
    On the face of it you're in the right and I would suggest you make a formal complaint, there's a link below to where you do this on Bury's website.
    I would also suggest you try and do it in writing or by e-mail, as I've said before on here it's strange how you can be told something on the phone but they're unwilling to put it down on paper, I would also copy your MP in, they might not do anything be it might help the council focus a bit more.
    K
     
  4. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,046
    Staffs
    That was my first thought as a recent court case has overturned a decision that allowed someone to move in after the owner went into care.

    The New Care Act Annexe B sec 43 does still have some examples where it is still allowed but requires each case to be determined on its merits.
     
  5. Jo O

    Jo O Registered User

    Oct 14, 2010
    8
    Manchester England
    My brother and his wife did sell their property after mum had gone into the care home. We had been renting her house out but people don't seem care about property when they rent it so as brother and sister in law were looking to downsize, it seemed the perfect opportunity to have them in the house and looking after it as they would their own home. The council knew the whole situation and disregarded the property. They have now changed their mind and it's totally unfair. They say that my brother in law and sister in law should move out and we rent it to someone else so that the house is now back in mums financial affairs. We don't have power of attorney over property, just finance. Mum's has paid circa £100k for care - surely this is enough!

    I'll have a look at examples, thank you for this information.
     
  6. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,719
    Female
    London
    If you have POA over finance you also have it over property. It comes under the same heading.
     
  7. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,783
    Salford
    As they moved in after your mum went into care you can see where the council are coming from, unless they are paying a fair commercial rent then the council are losing out financially as the rent could be put towards the cost of care.
    Normally your sister in law being over 60 would make it a mandatory disregard and if they'd lived there looking after your mum before she went into a home then they could ask for a disregard on those grounds, but moving in after she went into care and selling a house to move there means probably they won't get it if I'm reading the rules correctly.
    K
     
  8. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,046
    Staffs
    I cannot say for certain the decision to reverse the disregard in your circumstances is based on this case but I imagine it is and yours will probably not be the only one (I do realise that is not much comfort:() as many LA's were awaiting the outcome as a test case.

    The appeal court decision was a split 2:1 decision so maybe open to appeal if not already going to happen.

    http://www.lawskills.co.uk/articles...ial-care-fees-disregarding-for-means-testing/

    But as I said above the New Care Act does have exemptions which may be applicable in your case.

    I wish you luck.:)
     
  9. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    22,497
    Female
    Near Southampton
    I think that if they were not paying rent at the appropriate rate for the house, then that makes a real difference. It could also mean that your mother could possibly have self-funded for longer. Perhaps when they allowed the disregard originally, the LA assumed that a viable rent would be paid and hence their change of mind.
     
  10. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    http://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/showthread.php?82659-CRAG-is-no-longer-applicable!!!!

    The above link should take you to a recent thread which references the new guidance following the implementation of the 2014 Care Act.

    Presumably any new financial assessments will follow this guidance and it does appear there are some changes from Pete R's first post on the thread.

    One paragraph of that post suggests that it may be more difficult to argue that the value of half a house is nil as this is not explicitly stated in the new guidance.
     
  11. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,046
    Staffs
    They were totally entitled to the house being fully disregarded when they moved in as that was how the law was being interpreted. Rent had nothing to do with it.

    It is only after the appeal decision in Jan 2015 to the case I linked to that things changed. Even now I do not think that rent comes into it. The LA are entitled to assess the value of the house as capital.

    A deferred payment agreement may be possible but that doesn't help the couple in the long term.
     
  12. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    If the couple sold their house to move in, would they not be able to use that capital (+ mortgage if they had one before) to finance a new home for themselves?
     
  13. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,296
    SW London
    If your BIL and SIL were to pay market rent for the house, would that not satisfy the council?
    Have they been paying any rent, or just maintaining it and paying the bills, council tax and so on?
     
  14. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    22,497
    Female
    Near Southampton
    Going by Pete R's post and references on another thread, I think it may be more to do with the new Act than anything else. If there is wording in it that will help the LA finances, they will take it I think!
     
  15. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,592
    Yorkshire
    That's what I was wondering too. How long have they lived there?
     
  16. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,592
    Yorkshire
    It's an interesting judgment. At the end of the day it's not 'The Council' who pays, it's the local council tax payers, many of whom have very stretched budgets and no savings themselves
     
  17. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,046
    Staffs
    What I am suggesting is that this case is to do with the appeal decision. The New Care Act guidance was written after that appeal was known. If the decision had gone the other way or in fact a further appeal reverses it then the guidance will have to be rewritten.
     
  18. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    22,497
    Female
    Near Southampton
    I am well aware of that - and, as you can see from your quote, I didn't use the word' council' - but the LA have to balance their books somehow and if they have right on their side, why would they not use it.
     
  19. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,592
    Yorkshire
    I wasn't having a go at you, Saffie, far from it. But there are people who seem to think "the council" (and indeed "the government") should pay for all sort of things, without realising that councils are actually spending hard-pressed taxpayers money.

    I do some voluntary work, organising our council's subsided hanging basket sales to local shops and I've had numerous people having a go at me for having the cheek to ask for them to pay extra to have an extra basket hung outside their shop as it "the council's job" to beautify the town. I've had to bite my tongue when politely explaining that as it probably meant a choice between free hanging baskets or day care provision for the elderly, they might like to reconsider their objection. They usually look a bit sheepish then....

    Personally I support this new ruling. I am quite happy for a property to be disregarded whilst the spouse or a genuine carer/ relative lives there, but there isn't going to be enough money in the system to protect inheritances in the future. I have no issue with the proposal of a forced sale or a deferred payment arrangement to free up half the value of the house.

    Look at this another way. I have a nephew who has never moved out of his family home. When his parents both die, I suspect the house will be willed to him and his sister. What happens then? Is my nephew going to expect to keep the whole house to himself as it's 'always been his family home' or is his sister going to expect him to buy her half share or move out and split the proceeds? The answer is clear cut to me. His sister is due her 50%.

    I don't see the difference in this example to offspring who have inherited half a home from one parent being obliged to either buy the other half share or sell up and divide the proceeds.
     
  20. Jo O

    Jo O Registered User

    Oct 14, 2010
    8
    Manchester England
    Thanks everyone. Just for information, Brother and Sister in law pay market rent, they live there so that the property is properly looked after, I know that the fact that this was, for all three of us, our family home and it needs to be maintained as such until the time comes that it has to be sold is absolutely irrelevant to LA or those managing the process but it just makes it all more upsetting.
     

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