Dear tenant have you got 5 minutes? If so you can launch an appeal against the bedroom tax. Yes I did say 5 minutes as that it all it takes. Here’s how:
- Step one – Print off the two pages of a GL24 form below
- Step two – Complete
- Step three – hand into your council (not your landlord) and get a receipt
You have launched an appeal its that easy
Step 1 – The standard GL24 form
Page 1 – Insert your name and usual details
- Section 1 – Your name
- Section 2 – leave blank
- Section 3 – leave blank
- Section 4 – put in “HOUSING BENEFIT” and put in March 2013 for date
Page 2 of the GL24 form
- Section 5 – read
- Section 6 – sign and date
- Section 7 – read
- Section 8 – a short sentence for each reason you are appealing (see below)
Section 8 is where you say why you are appealing and why you are appealing now nearly a year after the bedroom tax decision was made.
Why are you appealing now? You could write sentence one here with something as simple as:
“I have only recently became aware of my right to appeal and my reasons below have substantial merit.”
Then state why you are appealing, the reasons for your appeal and a simple sentence for each will suffice at this time. So if you are appealing that the alleged ‘bedroom’ is too small and is a boxroom you could say: -
I dispute a room can be called a ‘bedroom’ as it measures only 8ft x 6 ft in size
Yes it is that simple reader. You could elaborate if you wish to say and I could not rent this out lawfully to a lodger or some other reasons yet it is not needed at this stage. The full detail you can provide when you get to the tribunal. Here it is enough to outline your reasons in the simplest form which the short sentence above does.
If you are appealing the bedroom tax decision on room usage you could write something as simple as: -
I dispute a room is a bedroom as it is has always been used and furnished as a dining room and the council has merely assumed this is a ‘bedroom” applied the bedroom tax in error.
So reader if you are appealing on room size and room usage you write in Section 8 the following:
“I have only recently became aware of my right to appeal and my reasons below have substantial merit. I dispute a room can be called a ‘bedroom’ as it measures only 8ft x 6 ft in size. I dispute a room is a bedroom as it is has always been used and furnished as a dining room and the council has merely assumed this is a ‘bedroom” applied the bedroom tax in error.
Yes that’s it you have completed the form it is that simple so move onto Step 3 and submit this form to your council and not to your landlord and you have launched an appeal.
Recently some landlords have started to draft template letters for the tenant to appeal and they over elaborate each and every point and there is no need to give chapter and verse at this stage.
These letters also tens to begin with ‘wishy-washy’ language such as I wish to appeal or I want to appeal or I request an appeal. Take no notice or heed or such language. It is not impolite and it is correct to say YOU ARE appealing and to be definitive and unambiguous. An appeal is your right not something you have to request.
What happens next?
Your council will refer the matter to the tribunal service who will send you a form to fill out in the near future. You complete this making sure you ask for an oral hearing and return it and then wait for your tribunal date for which you will be given at least 14 days notice and often longer.
In the meantime look at the judgments here for successful appeals on each issue (eg room size) and begin to write more detailed reasons on this or in other words copy what has worked! I will update this page with new successful judgments as they emerge too so make a note of the page which I also include a link to at the bottom of this page.
5 minutes and you’re almost there was a song by the Stranglers and to continue that theme so was “Something better change” and this will have to apply to the landlord in supporting the tenant to appeal as they will soon realise the huge invest-to-save rationale.
The average bedroom tax in a year is now £760 and so if they spend or invest £76 in helping the tenant to appeal they will get £760 more in HB payments each year and investing £1 save then £10 in simple terms. It is nowhere near enough for landlords to draft standard letters to get tenants into the appeal system which they are attempting through elaborate 1 page letters for each issue. The above simplified process gets the tenant into the appeal system and takes 5 minutes as I have explained.
An appeal needs the raucous beat and lyrics of Something Better Change yet landlords support is all white lace and promises and they have only just begun and the Carpenters just wont do reader! Sorry I’m digressing let’s get back on topic.
The real key to a successful appeal is the detailed arguments and what I have been doing for the past year that has led to a huge success rate in appeals. So ahead of your tribunal date you issue a further submission which for room size for example says why the Housing Acts of 1985, 1988 and 2004 all support the room size argument as well as other issues. The same in-depth arguments on room usage and human rights and a room being fit for purpose as a bedroom all need the same in-depth argument and submitted to the tribunal ahead of the case being heard.
Yet the detailed arguments on each issue can wait. Right now the tenant needs first and foremost to get into the system and within the 13 month time limit that the tenant has as their right. So if your bedroom tax decision was made 5 March 2013 then you need to submit the GL24 form above by 4 April and yes the deadline is looming.
Note too if you win that all the bedroom tax that has been deducted from the beginning is paid back and all the way to 1 April 2013. It also means you will not have the bedroom tax deducted from your HB payments this year too as if the tribunal rules you have 2 bedrooms and not 3 bedrooms then this is a permanent decision. Note very well as this post is titled says it takes 5 minutes of your time to appeal and to get into the appeal system…5 minutes and you’re almost there reader!
If a large number of tenants appeal, as you should, then your landlord will have to change and will have to begin to support the tenant to appeal as they should have done from the beginning
Yesterday I revealed that Liverpool City Council have shown their usual incompetence and misread the rules over the pre 1996 exempt issue. They wrongly maintain that ONLY if you succeeded your tenancy from your husband / wife / partner that you can be exempt when in fact any member of the household can inherit the tenancy and still qualify – so if you inherited your home from your mum or dad or grandmother you can still qualify.
Given the time left to appeal and also the time it will take for Liverpool (and other) councils to admit this latest cock up then go straight to appeal using the same GL24 form above. In section 8 simply say: -
“I maintain the council has misread regulations and I do qualify for the pre-1996 exemption as I inherited the tenancy from my…” then insert mother / father / grandmother or whatever the fact is.
Successful bedroom tax appeals to date is here and there are at least 6 more to add to this and it will be continuously updated. Good luck reader and my apologies for putting the Carpenters in your head go listen to the Stranglers!!