Housing Specification Blog

How will social housing tenants bear the burden of Bedroom Tax?

July 1, 2013 Alexandra Blakeman Housing Issues

The government’s spare room subsidy, dubbed the Bedroom Tax, is having a worse impact on claimants than first predicted.

Introduced at the beginning of April, the tax implemented an average payment cut of £14 per week for people living in social housing with one spare bedroom.

Spare bedrooms have cost benefit claimants an average of £14 per week since 1st April

Lord Freud, Bedroom Tax Minister, has warned local councils against going ‘soft’ on tax cut victims.

The minister has forbidden local authorities to re-classify rooms, and allow tenants to escape the brunt of the welfare cut.

Bedroom Tax was introduced to get people living in a home with a spare room to move, and allow families living in overcrowded properties to move in.

Large homes are being left empty, the National Housing Federation (NHF) said today, simply because tenants cannot afford to move into them.

Research by the NHF suggests there are 180,000 households under-occupying two-bedroom homes, but just 70,000 properties for them to downsize to.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation said: “The impact is at least as bad as we had anticipated, in many respects even worse.”

“What we’ve seen are really bad effects on individuals, people whose lives have been turned upside down, who are very frightened about the future.”

National social landlord Riverside is helping tenants sign up to mutual exchange home swap systems to ease the burden of Bedroom Tax.

Homeswapper, the free-to-use website is helping under occupiers to search for smaller properties and avoid being hit by the welfare cut.

Riverside has seen almost 200 tenants signing up to HomeSwapper since the bedroom tax penalties came into effect in April, an increase of almost 40%.

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