Local councils the stupid bedroom tax cowards

Local councils could take 150,000 to 200,000 households out of the bedroom tax at a stroke by ruling that a bedroom has to have a minimum usable floor space of 70 square feet.  This is within their powers to do lawfully as I argued in detail yesterday yet local councils are either ignorant of this or they lack the will to do this and in doing so local councils benefit financially as do tenants, landlords and the local economy.

The argument is a very simple and factual one, councils have discretion to determine what a bedroom is yet they claim that they do not have such discretion by saying there is no legal definition of a bedroom.

There is not I agree a legal definition of ‘bedroom’ yet there is no legal definition of “sheltered housing” either and local council HB departments make decisions on what is and is not sheltered housing on a daily basis and have done for decades.

The principle is exactly the same and local councils simply do not have the political will or economic competence to rule this way and yes that goes for those councils all too eager to sign symbolic and in practical terms useless No Eviction motions from local campaigning groups.

There is nothing left to argue as the above sums it up concisely.  All that is left and needed is for tenants to appeal the sham bedroom tax decisions they were given and to bombard your local council with pressure to rule that a bedroom for bedroom tax purposes has to have a minimum and usable floor space of 70 square feet.

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Those who wish to research the ‘sheltered’ housing aspect further should read Oxford -v- Vasey C3/2011/2163.  You may also wish to read again LB Croydon’s definition of a bedroom for bedroom tax purposes which they informed False Economy of in response to their requests sent to all councils and which Croydon advised housing associations to adopt for determining bedroom tax cases there:

The council is applying the national bedroom standard to assess under-occupation. The definition used in calculating the number of bedrooms in council properties is the definition of statutory overcrowding contained in the Housing Act 1985, thus we disregard rooms measuring less than 50 sq ft and treat a room measuring between 50 and 69 sq ft as adequate only for a child under 10.

If Croydon can do this why can’t your council?

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8 thoughts on “Local councils the stupid bedroom tax cowards

  1. Debbie Price October 8, 2013 at 10:40 am Reply

    We are hearing that councils will not take any notice of appeals on room size!!

    • joehalewood October 8, 2013 at 10:49 am Reply

      Are you surprised?? The fact a judge rules room size counts means councils got it wrong. Councils cannot take no notice in any case and they can either agree to an appeal or refer it to the tribunal. They cannot stop an appeal as they have no powers to do so. Bu by all means please inform me of any council who says you cant appeal or is stopping appeals on room size and I will name and shame them and ask why they are acting unlawfully as that is what they are doing is they try to prevent appeals

  2. Fen (@Fenlandman) October 8, 2013 at 8:01 pm Reply

    Perhaps they are scared after the Government warned local authorities they would lose their housing benefit subsidy if they reclassified bedrooms?

    • joehalewood October 8, 2013 at 8:34 pm Reply

      That threat from Freud was a nonsense and was a hollow one as there is nationally just £5.90 between a 3 bed and a 2 bed so a 2 bed plus boxroom/study (call it what you will) is not unreasonably high at £5.90 per week more than a straight 2 bed. Also note Leeds took legal advice on this and told Freud to bring it on and did so publicly too. The Freud threat was a a farce and holds no substance. This is not a reclassification in any case it is merely local councils ruling on what constitutes a bedroom and see what Croydon has done.

  3. The Wayward Nana October 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm Reply

    yorkshire housing has refused to reclassify my smallest bedroom due to the fact it fits a single bed in. they said the size made no difference at all.

  4. collectivismsucks October 27, 2013 at 3:16 pm Reply

    Re: Appeals – I must have appealed twice to my council about bedroom tax, because they’ve contacted me asking if I want to go ahead with the appeal. My memory is not so good. I know the first one failed (these appeals are through the councils official system, I’ve yet to send a GL24, or ask for them to re-classify as exempt accomodation)

    The lady explained, oh, so very reasonably, the reasons why the room in question is counted as a bedroom, and was probably expecting me to dismiss the appeal. I said I’d call back another time.

    The thing is, about a week before, my DHP was cancelled out of the blue, and I received a letter with a full bedroom tax bill (A DHP was secured until next March, supported housing). According to the council, it was all a simple admin error, which has now been rectified.

    A warning shot across the bows ? Stop your appeal or the DHP will be stopped ? Threats ? The lady did explain that it was simply a case of ticking a box incorrectly in their computer system that had stopped it.

    After a council bod was sent over to measure the rooms with a laser device, it was obvious they were dead serious about keeeping the bedroom tax. They have all the power, and are willing to spend time and energy putting me in my place, while rolling out the PR phrase ‘Your council working for you’.

    I’m in a weak position with all this. I do want to appeal, but rely on the council for my specific housing, and get the impression, or obvious message, from them, that I should forget it due to having a DHP. I know when that runs out next year, another may not be available. There’s a few more things ongoing that may or may not have an impact on all this.

    A bloke could become paranoid with this local Govs antics. Or maybe I’m just being a silly sausage, and the council fairies will keep me safe from harm.

    To appeal or not.

  5. Sarah Kowloski November 27, 2013 at 6:22 pm Reply

    “The council is applying the national bedroom standard to assess under-occupation. The definition used in calculating the number of bedrooms in council properties is the definition of statutory overcrowding contained in the Housing Act 1985, thus we disregard rooms measuring less than 50 sq ft and treat a room measuring between 50 and 69 sq ft as adequate only for a child under 10.”

    Can you please tell me where and who has made this statement at Croydon Council as I am currently dealing with them about bedroom tax and the size of my box room. They are not accepting this argument as to what classifies a bedroom so I am a little confused if this is what they have in fact stated???

    if it is an official statement by Croydon Council can you point me in the right direction as to where I can find it.

    Thank you for your help.

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