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.
- 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.
- It affects you if you’re a social housing tenant and need to claim housing benefit for any reason at all.
- You will lose 14% of your housing benefit if you have one “spare” room and 25% if you have more than that.
- If you’re “under occupying” you may not be able to move because there are not enough smaller properties available, particularly in Yorkshire.
- The rules about who needs a bedroom, although often challenged in the Court, are fairly strict.
- 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.
- 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.