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Refused Service Charges (Universal Credit)

JayvimJayvim Member Posts: 4 Listener
Hello, 

I am a new member, and I would like to get some help/opinion in regards to Service Charges on the Universal Credit Housing Costs. When I moved into my apartment, it came with a parking space as service charge in the Tenancy Agreement which I had to pay extra. However, as I am disabled and the parking space was a bit too far from the entrance of my building, I managed to negotiate with the landlord for it to be removed from my Tenancy Agreement so that I can choose a different parking space closer to the entrance of my building, but it will be with a different letting agency which advertises parking spaces within the complex.

When I asked Universal Credit to add this Parking Space  as a service charge on my housing costs, it was refused due to it being separate to my tenancy agreement. Secondly, because they consider parking space is not a service charge.

Upon checking the DWP (UC) Housing Costs guidelines, I came across the following;

  1. Service charge payments for the general upkeep of areas of communal use

  2. F2072  The service charge payments are for the ongoing maintenance and cleaning of, and supply of water, fuel or any other commodity relating to the common use of, internal or external areas including areas for reasonable facilities, examples include

    1. grounds maintenance such as lawn mowing, litter removal and lighting costs for areas of access

    2. tenant parking but not extending to the manning of car parks for security purposes

    3. laundry facilities

    4. upkeep of internal areas of common use outside the home, such as hallways

      and corridors

    5. children’s play areas.

Service charge payments 

  1. F2050  [See memo ADM 26/17][See memo ADM 5/18] Service charge payments are payments which1

    1. fall within F2051

    2. are not excluded as in F2053 and

    3. where F2060 et seq applies, meet all the conditions set out in those paragraphs.

      1 UC Regs, Sch 1, para 7(1)

  2. F2051  Service charge payments are payments which are, in whole or in part1

1. of, or towards, the cost of, or charges for, providing services or facilities to or for the benefit of the people occupying the home or

1 UC Regs, Sch 1, para 3, 3A & 3B


2. fairly attributable to the costs of, or charges for, providing such services or facilities connected with the accommodation as are available for the use or benefit of persons occupying the home

Note: Any payments made into a sinking fund/reserve fund, that fall into 1 or 2 above, can be considered as service charges

1 UC Regs, Sch 1, para 7(2)

F2052 It is irrelevant whether or not the service charge payments1

  1. are separately identified as relating to the costs or expenses referred to in F2051

  2. are made in addition to or as part of any other payment (including a payment that would otherwise be regarded as a rent payment)

  3. are made under the same or a different agreement as that under which the accommodation is occupied.


    Basically the above guidelines clearly contradicts their reasons to refuse my application as tenant parking is mentioned. Also, the Service Charges and the Tenancy Agreement can be two separate agreements. 

     I did point out all these guidelines to the Universal Credit and DWP Complaints Team but they still gave the same refusal reasons. 

    I hope I have explained it well as English isn't my first language and I do apologise for the long post. 

    Thank you 


Replies

  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,217 Pioneering
    edited March 19
    The paragraphs you quote refer to a service charge for the maintenance and cleaning of tenant parking areas. If the charge is a licence or permit charge for the use of a parking space it doesn’t appear to be covered. Indeed licences and permits are explicitly excluded at paragraph F2077.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • JayvimJayvim Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thank you for your reply @calcotti

    Yes you are correct, that paragraph doesn’t cover tenant parking space. My parking contract doesn’t state licence or permit charge, it’s worded “Parking Space Rental Agreement”. Could this fall under F2051?

    Also, what is your view on the fact that the parking space agreement being separate from the one the accommodation was sought.
    Thanks
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,217 Pioneering
    Jayvim said:
    Thank you for your reply @calcotti

    Yes you are correct, that paragraph doesn’t cover tenant parking space. My parking contract doesn’t state licence or permit charge, it’s worded “Parking Space Rental Agreement”. Could this fall under F2051?
    Clearly then it is not for maintenance of the space and is outside the scope of the housing element.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • JayvimJayvim Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thanks again @calcotti.

    So let’s say they they would have accepted the parking space as  service charge if it was in the original tenancy agreement. 

    Would it be considered unreasonable or discriminatory for them not accepting the parking space of my choice (separate agreement) due to proximity, as my disabilities “walking difficulties and severely sight impaired” meant I couldn’t use the parking space that came with the tenancy as it is much further away from the entrance of my building.
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,217 Pioneering
    Jayvim said: So let’s say they they would have accepted the parking space as  service charge if it was in the original tenancy agreement. 
    In my opinion, they wouldn’t and shouldn’t. Renting a parking space is not a service charge at all, it is a rental agreement for something which is outside the scope of the housing element. 
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • GeoarkGeoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,375 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Jayvim and welcome to the community.

    It would not be considered a housing service charge if you are charged directly via someone who is not your landlord.

    Even with your landlord, if you are renting the space for your exclusive use it would not be covered, though any charges relating to the upkeep and maintenance of the area would. It would be unusual for both charges to be in place as the person/organisation renting it out would be expected to cover upkeep and maintenance costs from the rental income.


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  • JayvimJayvim Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hi @Geoark. Thank you for your welcome message and the advice given which you explained very well. 

    Once again many thanks @calcotti for your advice 
  • Caz_AlumniCaz_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 626 Pioneering
    Welcome to the community @Jayvim :)

    It looks like you've made a good start on getting to know some of the other members and getting help for your query!

    If you need any further help or advice, just give us a shout.

    @Caz_Scope
    Online Community Coordinator (she/her)

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