Written by: Keoghs Solicitors
Date: 30th July 2013
Are you affected by ‘bedroom tax’?
If you are:
A local authority or housing association tenant
Below state pension age
In receipt of housing benefit
you may be affected by the new spare room subsidy or ‘bedroom tax’.
Tenants are only affected, if you are deemed to have ‘spare’ bedrooms within your home. The tax will affect all housing benefit claims from April 2013 (if you have not claimed housing benefit in the 52 weeks before making a new claim, then the tax won’t apply for the first 13 weeks of your claim).
The bedroom tax (spare room subsidy) means that social housing tenants who are deemed to be living in a property that is too large for their needs must contribute to the cost of their rent. This is through a reduction in the amount of housing benefit they receive. This equates to on average £14 per week if the property has one spare bedroom which is unoccupied, or £22 for two spare bedrooms. Recent statistics have shown that on average, social housing association tenants living in a property that is under-occupied, are paying approximately £16 per week as a direct result of the new spare room subsidy.
This has led to rent arrears throughout the UK, particularly in Manchester, Leeds, Bolton and London.
The Discretionary Housing Fund, set up by local councils and funded by central Government, has experienced an increase in applications from those who have been affected and whom are in need of financial assistance.
Have you or someone you know been affected by the new rules?
How will you manage with less housing benefit and how will you manage to pay your rent, in order to avoid arrears and ultimately potential eviction from your home?
If your housing benefit has been cut because of the new rules then there are some things you can do such as asking if you can pay your rent weekly, rather than monthly to help you budget your spending.
Make sure the full rent is paid when it is due. It is your responsibility to do this as the tenant of the property. If you fall into arrears, then you could lose your home. If you are served an Eviction Notice then we may be able to help you through the Legal Aid Scheme.
If you feel that you need help or guidance please get in touch with our team of housing experts who will be able to review your situation and offer advice and support.