Bedroom Tax (or the Under Occupation Charge, to give it its full title) was introduced in April 2013. It cut the amount of Housing Benefit a person could claim if they have one or more spare bedroom.
Bedroom Tax equates to a reduction of 14% in Housing Benefit for one spare room and 25% for two or more spare bedrooms. The idea was to encourage tenants to take in lodgers or to move into smaller properties, freeing up bigger properties for the families that needed them.
It is believed that 31% of social housing tenants are affected by Bedroom Tax.
So…how do the numbers stack up?
The Independent reported that 19 out of 20 families are trapped in their larger homes as there is a shortage of smaller properties for applicants to be re-housed to.
25% of those hit by bedroom tax are in arrears for the first time, and 51% are in increased arrears.
By 10th June 2013, Joyce McCarty (Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council) said that rent arrears across the city had increased by £550,000 since the introduction of bedroom tax.
If you are in rent arrears, whether caused by Bedroom Tax or other financial difficulties, your landlord is entitled to take legal action, and this could result in you losing your home. It is important that you get urgent legal advice if your landlord starts possession proceedings.
If your receive correspondence from your landlord to say they are starting Court proceedings, contact our Housing Team urgently. Our expert team successfully act for tenants in all of our local Courts and will assist you in defending a claim, as well as advising you on any action you can take to cope with Bedroom Tax.