7 reasons to care about the Bedroom Tax

By Katie Groves

The under-occupancy charge, otherwise known as the ‘bedroom tax’ was introduced in April 2013. Despite the negativity surrounding the bedroom tax, there is information you should be aware of.

  1. Love it or hate it, the “bedroom tax”(or, as we should call it, the “under-occupancy charge”) is here to stay – at least for the time being.
  2. It affects you if you’re a social housing tenant and need to claim housing benefit for any reason at all.
  3. You will lose 14% of your housing benefit if you have one “spare” room and 25% if you have more than that.
  4. If you’re “under occupying” you may not be able to move because there are not enough smaller properties available, particularly in Yorkshire.
  5. The rules about who needs a bedroom, although often challenged in the Court, are fairly strict.
  6. You can apply for “Discretionary Housing Payments” to cover the shortfall, but receiving these will depend on your reasons for applying and may only cover a short period of time.
  7. It can lead to significant rent arrears, particularly for tenants on benefits, which can lead to homelessness and/or vulnerable tenants being forced into uninhabitable private rented properties.

If you are concerned, particularly if this affects you, contact the Housing Law Department at Switalskis on 0800 138 0458.