What is a bedroom – and why landlords dont want it defined?

The bedroom tax

If you are a single person living a 2 bed council house you will see a reduction in your Housing Benefit of 14% because you have 1 more bedroom than you need.  If it’s a 3 bed council or housing association house you will lose 25% of your Housing Benefit because you have 2 bedrooms too many.  But what is a bedroom?

The bedroom tax as we see above is based on bedrooms yet there is no definition of what is a bedroom and the coalition are leaving that to social landlords to define and DWP will not define what constitutes a bedroom.  That is unacceptable and wrong.  You cannot have a benefit decided on the subjective opinion of varying landlords it just doesn’t make any sense.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) do have a size definition of what constitutes a bedroom.  That size is 6.5 square metres or 70.1 square feet if like me you work better in imperial measurements.  Anything under 10’ x 7’ is less than 70 square feet (and 6.5sq/m) and so if not a bedroom under HMO regulations. Yet many ‘bedrooms’ can be less than this size of area and shouldn’t be classed as a bedroom for HB purposes; and further I would argue and indeed advocate that tenants who have such small rooms to appeal and challenge any deduction of HB on that basis.

Many years ago I headed up the asylum seeker dispersal programme for a NW council.  The government had contracts with local councils which said that properties to be used for asylum seekers has to be dual use so a 3 bed house could accommodate a family seeking asylum or 3 individuals.  They had to be HMO compliant too AND a single bedroom had to be 70sq/ft and a double bedroom 110 sq/ft.  The important central point here is that central government specified, under contract, what a bedroom was in terms of size – they defined a bedroom.

Many properties are defined in housing-speak to be say a 3bed/5 which means 3 bedrooms to accommodate 5 people (two doubles and 1 single = 5 occupancy) yet the single room is often below the 70sq/ft size making it a boxroom and not a bedroom.

If government can and do define what a bedroom is by saying in asylum contracts it has to be a minimum size then surely that size criterion must follow for what is a bedroom for bedroom tax purposes and HB deductions?

The coalition also advises that these underoccupying tenants can take in a lodger.  Yet if a tenant advertises a single bedroom which is less than 70sq/ft are they in breach of the Trades Descriptions Act or some other law for advertising a bedroom which is in fact (legally?) not a bedroom but a boxroom?  Would the lodger have a case in law to refuse to pay rent for a boxroom that was advertised as a bedroom?  Would HB have a case if they refused to pay HB by claiming it was a boxroom and not a bedroom?

I am staggered that there has been no legal challenge to this to determine for the purposes of HB deductions what is a bedroom?  Back in May in an interview with Lord Freud he was adamant the government were not going to define what a bedroom is.  He said: –

Lord Freud is adamant that the government will not define what a bedroom is for the purposes of the policy. ‘It is up to landlords to determine that and they are perfectly capable of doing that,’ he says, speaking slowly and deliberately. This has led to concerns that landlords could reclassify large numbers of properties to allow tenants to avoid the tax – a move which will reduce rental income. Some fear this could breach existing lending agreements and lead to legal challenges from tenants over what constitutes a bedroom.

Lord Freud says: ‘My own expectation is there will be a bit of it [reclassification] but it won’t be a widespread, wholesale move because it has income impacts.’

On the point about legal challenges, Lord Freud, pauses, choosing his words carefully. ‘I’m clearly not expecting that outcome and I’m expecting landlords to act appropriately and smartly,’ he says.

Yet the above doesn’t answer the simple questions of what constitutes a bedroom for benefit purposes.  Put another way how can DWP or our local HB department determine what is and isn’t a bedroom for deducting benefit?  All benefit decisions are rightly open to appeals and eventually full legal challenge.  Lord Freud in his last sentence is clearly passing the buck onto landlords.  Does this mean the DWP will accept what the landlord says in making a decision on a bedroom tax deduction?  Does this also mean a tenant has a legal challenge against the DWP and the landlord in such cases?  “Sorry Mrs Jones your landlord says you are not disabled and so we are not paying you DLA or incapacity benefit” says the DWP decision letter!  Eh!

That is an analogy of how absurd the process and decision making in the bedroom tax is!! What the hell are landlords doing allowing themselves to be embroiled in this farce?  Why are they exposing themselves to costly legal and other challenges in this way?

It’s time social landlords challenged this collectively on behalf of their tenants or TPAS or another umbrella body on behalf of tenants challenged this nonsense.  It’s also time for social landlords and tenants groups to develop standard letters so tenants can appeal every bedroom tax decision or determination where they have a boxroom.

What about public interest lawyers?  Is there a public interest issue here?  Damn right there is as central government are taking money away from tenants living on subsistence level benefits and it affects hundreds of thousands across the country.

I had only thought about the lodger angle today.  The government are advocating and promoting this yet are noticeably silent on what a bedroom is and of course that means they are ignoring a potentially huge legal issue on whether a lodger pays the tenant or on whether the DWP refuses to pay HB to the lodger.  If so taking this one stage further would the lodger also have a claim against the social landlord too?  I could get really semantic and pedantic and say a tenancy agreement may allow a tenant to rent out a bedroom to a lodger or boarder but not a boxroom.  If we have a definition and if we do I fail to see how it can be less than 70sq/ft then has a tenant broken his tenancy agreement is he rents out a boxroom?  The more one looks at this the more ridiculous the Lord Freud and DWP and Coalition policy and position is!  It is a legally fraught position too that as yet to my knowledge has had no challenge….Why?

One other point on the lodger issue has come to mind.  If a tenant has a lodger isn’t that two separate households or a HMO too? If they have two lodgers then that’s 3 separate households surely? Note 3 people living in 3 separate households is one of the benchmark factors in determining what is and isn’t a HMO.

Here’s where this policy gets bizarre and surreal.  If you take in a lodger as the government are promoting then your home forms 2 separate households and comes under the vague definition of a HMO and if you don’t it doesn’t.  So do as the government advocates and promotes and you have a better chance of the HMO size standard being relevant legally and conversely if you don’t the chances of the typical HMO size standard of 70 sq/ft has less applicability!  If you take in 2 lodgers you have 3 people in 3 households and conform to a more definitive HMO and so surely space standards of 70sq/ft would have to apply?

So a quick recap, no lodgers and who cares if it is a bedroom or boxroom.  Take in 1 lodger and it’s easier to argue the bedroom/ boxroom position.  Take in two lodgers and then it can only be a boxroom!  That is the bizarre and oppressive nature of this policy and it is a joke!

Yet you also have as a tenant more legal obligations to ensure the bedroom is a bedroom and not a boxroom for HMO size purposes!  Did you see anywhere in the governments leaflets promoting this any reference to you creating a HMO? Does the all-singing, all-dancing Universal Credit IT system include the tax or non-tax implications of taking in lodgers which is even more confusing thanks to another knee-jerk intervention by Lord Freud that I discussed here in a blog called lodger, bodger, silly old codger for good reason.

If the UC IT system does not cover the mysterious vague tax treatment of lodgers and tenants then how can it deliver a final assessment of a tenant’s entitlement to all benefits?  It can’t can it and so tenants will be waiting longer for decisions and so build up more arrears (and take out more Wonga loans in the meantime?)  Also how is the definitive word of the landlord to be considered by the UC IT system? Does a landlord have to supply it with the landlord classification of whether 1 Acacia Avenue is a 3 bed or a 2 bed property?  And all this digital by default…eh!  I digress.

So is anyone any clearer on what the f*ck is a bedroom then?

The Law Lords in the (little known, relevant and worth reading) case of Uratemp Ventures v Collins determined what is a dwelling which they did, then why is no one asking them to define what is a bedroom?

Landlords and tenant groups need to get off their backsides and ask that the judiciary does determine what is a bedroom?  Surely there is also plenty of interest and scope for public interest lawyers here too.

Hmmm, I wonder how many private landlords are renting out boxrooms and having 3 persons share a 3 bed house?  Quite a lot I imagine and especially as it is in their financial interests and indeed a large government steer to do this with LHA caps.  Is the SRS landlord who wants to constantly (often with good reason) decry the private landlord for iffy practises going to hide behind the fact that they too are renting many 3 bed properties which are in fact 2 bedrooms and a boxroom?  That would be duplicity wouldn’t it and rank hypocrisy.

So tenant groups it looks like it’s all up to you then!!


35 thoughts on “What is a bedroom – and why landlords dont want it defined?

  1. Hi – not sure about your HMO point, lodgers may be considered seen as forming the same household (sharing kitchen and lounge etc), I notice that the lodger is included in the household for determining number of bedrooms so the view is that they are a single household. However there are very major child protection issue – read the Baby P report on the danger of lodgers and Councils need to be very carefully in promoting this idea. Surely the number of bedrooms has to be determined on the facts of the case rather than the views of the landlord – what is the definiton in the regulations? What about bedrooms joined to halls or each other by removal of doors/creation or aches? What about “through” bedrooms which are access to other rooms (frequent in Victorian houses not claimable as bedrooms in sales particulars)?

  2. Interesting point about the (multiple) Lodgers = HMO angle. I work for a local planning authority which is bringing in an Article 4 Direction on conversion of single dwellings to HMOs (largely, it has to be said, to give us a degree of control over the truly appalling student housing in the city). But this would mean a benefit claimant who wants to take in multiple lodgers to avoid the bedroom tax would have to PAY to apply for planning permission – which may then be refused if the rooms aren’t up to standard…

  3. Same sitituation going to fight it out 2 bedroom and a box room 6foot by 6 foot. Wat the f…k

    Yh and it used to be upstairs bathroom witch they moved by kitchen so we don’t even hav toilet upstairs and they want us to pay for that lol

  4. One other point on the lodger issue has come to mind. If a tenant has a lodger isn’t that two separate households or a HMO too? If they have two lodgers then that’s 3 separate households surely? Note 3 people living in 3 separate households is one of the benchmark factors in determining what is and isn’t a HMO.

    No…… it is one household. The household is the tenants household. The other people are excluded licensees of the tenant. There can only be one tenancy. Unless the property is a HMO and that is totally different (it isn’t someone getting a tenant in, as the tenant wouldn’t live on the premises).

    And…. as for the scaremongering about bedroom size, is it a bedroom isn’t it? …. How many bedrooms you have is stated on the tenancy agreement. That is it. Nothing more or less. If you want to know, put down your tape measure, and look at your agreement. 🙂

    Have worked all my life in housing have a BA Hon’s in it, and have passed exams in housing law.

    It’s an unfair tax, but councils are aware of this, and for special cases they will consider discretionary payments to make up the shortfall.

    1. A HMO is up to each local authority to define and each have differing interpretations. Some say it needs to be more than two storeys for example.

      For bedroom tax purpose because the lodgers are not included as part of the household and the bedroom tax still applies with a lodger then by any definition of that term they do not form part of the tenant household. The form of tenure each lodger or boarder has is also not necessarily an excluded license either, invariably it will be but not always.

      Bedroom size and scaremongering? Not scaremongering at all and look around for the plenty of legal opinion on the matter. Yet more simply than that you or I cannot say what is a bedroom as there is no definition in law as to what one is. So if you cannot legally define a bedroom how can you ‘tax’ something you cant define (and note well on that point the A4/2012 which is THE official guidance says under occupation is by one BEDROOM or more and not by one room!)

      Housing Law does however state clearly and unambiguously what is NOT a bedroom and this is any room under 50 square feet (see section 326 of 1985 Housing Act) so a room 8ft x 6ft in which you can fit a single bed is NOT a bedroom in law and cannot be rented out to a lodger as such as it is only 48 square feet – this has recently been proven in law and a landlord successfully prosecuted for the same in Reigate

      The issue is far from cut and dried and is most definitely NOT scaremongering and a for your point about DHPs please advise how £50m in year 1 can deal with the anticipated £505m per year cut in HB – a figure which doesn’t include the additional 67,000 mixed-age pensioners the DWP knows will be affected yet has not included in the 660,000 overall figure?

      Number of bedrooms is what is says on the tenancy agreement? No again! I have heard of social landlords and seem evidence of a 3 bed parlour house which the landlord has told HB it is a 4 bed house for bedroom tax purposes. I also know from many years working in housing too that the smallest rooms are not in fact bedrooms but boxrooms yet the tenancy agreement states they are bedrooms – which is a huge legal issue too. The DWP even refuse to say or define what a bedroom is and have said it OUGHT TO be what it says on the tenancy agreement yet is not the case in law. TA is a mere contract and can have unfair terms and definitions in there as has been proven in court and so a TA is not a Ronseal Agreement at all and can be other than what it says on the tin!

  5. i live in a 2 bedroom bungalow with my disabeled wife my second bedroom is 65.77sqr ft with a window does that count as a bedroom or a boxroom?i would like to know then i can fight it?

    1. I can’t advise you or anyone else personally here but my considered view is that anything under 70 sq/ft does gives rise to a challenge and I am aware that many will challenge the bedroom tax on this size criteria.

      Or put another way if I was in the same situation I would challenge and seek out others locally, perhaps through a tenants or residents group and then seek legal advice on the matter as I know many are already doing

  6. Joe, do you work in Housing? I have for 27 years. I have a BA Hons Degree in it, and have passed exams in housing law. I have worked through different governments and different policies.

    What is a bedroom, is quite simple really. It is what your tenancy agreement says is a bedroom. Nothing more and nothing less.

    If a bedroom is between 50 – 70sqm it is suitable for a child under 10 years. Dave Collins if this is your case, speak to your landlord, and ask for reclassification of your tenancy, or if your wife is disabled and she gets carers allowance. then a spare room is allowed anyway.

    I do not know what your background is Joe, and i do not want to offend you. But giving false information really will do more harm than good.

    1. Nicky, I have been in housing almost as long as you. What is a bedroom is NOT as simple as what the tenancy agreement says – go ask a housing lawyer or any lawyer and they will tell you the same thing or simply google unfair terms of a contract and see that way.

      A spare room is allowed if you get carers allowance? Really! I think you need to go back and read the regulations! You can have a spare room if you have an overnight carer who is not family but that is not the same as receipt of carers allowance at all…

      No offence taken but receipt of carers allowance does NOT allow an extra bedroom

      I have just rechecked the regulations (again) and also other sites such as nat fed and they all agree as do shelter

      The ‘bedroom tax’ won’t affect you if you (or your partner) have reached state pension age.

      On 1 April 2013, when bedroom tax starts, you will have reached state pension age if you are: a woman aged 61 years and 5 months a man aged 65.

      You can check if you are of pension age by using the Gov.uk state pension age calculator.

      The reduction to housing benefit for households with extra bedrooms also won’t apply to: people living in shared ownership properties people living in caravans, mobile homes and houseboats homeless people housed in temporary accommodation provided by the council some types of supported accommodation.

      Or perhaps you would care to check the spartacus report which says: –

      Despite fierce lobbying by all interested organisations for an exemption from the benefit cut for people in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance (Support group) and/or Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payment, the only current exemption is for a minority of tenants who can prove they require constant overnight care. For everyone else the ‘tax’ (benefit cut) takes immediate effect on 1 April 2013

      Receipt of carers allowance is not, I repeat NOT an exemption from the bedroom tax or allows an extra bedroom

  7. Joe….. a landlord cannot tell housing benefit that a property is 4 bedroom, if the tenancy says that is a 3 bedroom!! Its a legal agreement between two parties. that is basic law of contract. Both signed an agreement to let a 3 bed property. Again, I really do question your knowledge on this subject.

    Housing – social housing, as sad as it sounds, is my life. All of my adult working life. I live it breath it. And as a worker have had to change adapt so many times, through different governments and different policies. It changes all the time. this is the biggest threat to social housing ever. Mostly because of threats to credit rating for borrowing, and additionally rent arrears, which cost a fortune to administer, and no social housing provider wants to evict a good tenant for no reason.

    1. I agree entirely that it is a contract and I agree that a landlord should not tell HB that a 3 bed is a 4 and didn’t believe it either until I was shown the evidence. Let’s just say the matter was resolved very quickly and it was portrayed as a “simple” mistake! Yet the tenancy agreement is not written in stone as you appear to suggest and all contract wording, terms and definition are ultimately decided by a court. Quick example – a TA says its a 3 bed property yet the smallest ‘bedroom is 7ft x 7ft (49 sq/ft) The contract is wrong in law as anything under 50 sq/ft cannot be a bedroom and so the contract wording and definition is wrong and a court would rule it is a 2 bed.

      A court will rule sometime in the near future on what is a bedroom – it is inevitable and it is needed

  8. Receipt of carers allowance IS defined as allowance for an extra bedroom!!! I suggest you read some more just googled it top one… will do…. its not difficult.


    I live housing breath it. Have worked in it since 1985, worked alongside Shelter. Please do not give information if you do not know your subject well. As you can do more harm than good!

    1. I still disagree with that view as does everyone else and the Enfield link if from 2011 and 2 years before the bedroom tax. Now if you can find anywhere in Bedroom tax guidance or regulations that receipt of carers allowance = one extra bedroom for bedroom tax purposes I will stand corrected

      maybe I should direct you to hansard reporting the bedroom tax debate this week

      Jim Shannon: May I return the Minister to the subject of disabled people in bungalows or houses to which they will have to consider moving in order to downsize? What criterion will the Government use to enable a person to justify keeping a spare bedroom? Will it be a doctor’s note saying that the person is disabled and needs a bedroom of his or her own? Steve Webb: We have already made one specific exemption. Someone who needs a spare room for a non-resident, overnight carer can have it. That is an absolute right, and people do not have to apply for it.

      One specific exemption is not a general caveat that carers allowance = a spare bedroom at all

      Perhaps you refer this: From http://www.carersuk.org

      Who will this affect? · Couples who use their ‘spare’ bedroom when recovering from an illness or operation, or who cannot sleep in the same room because of disturbed sleep · Parents whose children visit but are not part of the household · Disabled people including people living in adapted or specially designed properties Someone who needs overnight care from someone who does not live with them is entitled to Housing Benefit to pay for the extra room. The person providing care could be a care worker or an unpaid carer. However, you cannot be allowed an extra bedroom on the basis of disability if you are an adult – for instance where one of a couple has a disability and the couple cannot sleep in the same room. This means that someone providing care to their partner will not be entitled to Housing Benefit for an extra bedroom but someone who has engaged a care worker to provide overnight care will be able to have another bedroom for them.

  9. If you have carers allowance. That is all you need – carers allowance. Because to get that you are saying that you might be well and you might not. If you are not well – you need care.

    You don’t need to have a carer living with you all the time. It is just if you need it. If you have a relapse. For some people they are fine. And then they have a relapse of illness and need additional carer. If you get carers allowance through DLA, you are allowed an extra bedroom.

    1. From http://www.carersuk.org as at January 2013

      Re bedroom tax:

      Who will this affect? · Couples who use their ‘spare’ bedroom when recovering from an illness or operation, or who cannot sleep in the same room because of disturbed sleep · Parents whose children visit but are not part of the household · Disabled people including people living in adapted or specially designed properties Someone who needs overnight care from someone who does not live with them is entitled to Housing Benefit to pay for the extra room. The person providing care could be a care worker or an unpaid carer. However, you cannot be allowed an extra bedroom on the basis of disability if you are an adult – for instance where one of a couple has a disability and the couple cannot sleep in the same room. This means that someone providing care to their partner will not be entitled to Housing Benefit for an extra bedroom but someone who has engaged a care worker to provide overnight care will be able to have another bedroom for them. Disabled people who use an extra room for equipment or who have a specially designed property will also be affected.

      That makes pretty clear that carers allowance is NOT an extra bedroom in the bedroom tax

  10. I am so angry about it….. it’s not you! It is just the situation. This is the biggest crises for social housing I have ever witnessed (and that includes a BA Hons Degree in it, so I learned social housing history) from a tenants perspective……

    Homes that they signed up for often on a secure tenancy, if you had a council property. And you therefore thought you had a home for life. It was secure right? So, you raise your family there. Put all of your money into your home. And then your children grow up and leave home…… and then government changes…. and says ‘sorry you put all of your money into your home, made the garden nice, often put in new doors, new kitchens or bathrooms, spent money on it, now your children are grown ….. its too big for you, get out’…… what kind of contractual agreement is that? Who signed up for that Who agreed that before they spent vast amounts of money on their home? for it wasn’t your landlord doing interior decoration like the private sector – it was YOU. This is a tax on the poor. This is an attack on the poor. And many people might have all their lives worked, and paid their taxes, paid their rent, and put money into their homes, and now they are told that sorry…. your kids have grown up…. get out, cos we sold all the council houses the last Tory rule, and now there isn’t enough left.It is so so wrong….. because what? They need bigger homes for bigger families….. because they sold off all the council housing? What ffs…..what kind of contract is that?

    1. Nikki

      Feel free to vent your spleen and everyone I know in housing – from the lowest housing assistant to Chief Execs – are angry about it and rightly. I wish housing professionals and the great and the good of housing had shouted their anger louder, quicker and much more often!

  11. We are all angry about it. It the biggest nightmare for anyone who works in housing. We don’t do that kind of work to evict people. We do it to house people. There is enough work to do managing anti social behaviour, and people who do not pay their rent. Without thousands of rents of people whose home is too big. And there is no smaller accommodation to move them to.

    People that were pillars of a community, who raised their family in their home. Who signed a secure tenancy (with the council) or assured (with HA) and thought that they had homes for life. Who spent their money on kitchens and bathrooms, new doors, nice gardens. they were the ones who paid for the repairs, not like landlords in the private sector. they did this because they saw it as THEIR home. it is the centre of the family. the place where children feel free to travel the world from. Where they could return home to Christmas. the family home.

    And now what….. they are expected to move….. for what? Communities, with stable people living there, who do not cause anti social behaviour have to move, get a 1 bedroom flat, so there is no longer a family home. Nowhere for the family to live together, to get together to celebrate together.

    Mr Cameron is to my mind a Psychopath.

  12. My story is spectacular!!!

    Mr Cameron might think that everyone is like those on Jeremy Kyle. Err no…. I worked all of my life. I worked in the housing field. I did a Degree, BA Hons Housing and Development (CIH course). My passion, my life, is housing.

    In 2010, after a horrific pregnancy – where there was a lack of midwifery care – because one was out sick and couldn’t be replaced, there was no continuity of care…. I carried on with my job. I owned a house. My house was cold, and old. I was having a baby. A little girl. Staff focused more on paperwork than patient care, I guess there wasn’t enough time.

    I had been in my job, at that time, for 7 years. I sold my house, cheap on the open market as I couldn’t afford money to pay HIPS fees that the government had brought in. In fact, in a moment of pregnancy madness I sold it for 40k less than it was worth.

    I moved into a housing association property. On intermediate renting. Rent to buy. I was going to buy it later. this was fine. As I was going to go back to work, and would give me some flexibility. 2 months after I moved, my daughter died at full term. Because of negligence. And if the midwifery care wasn’t bad enough, care in labour was worse. Which left me so traumatised and shocked I had severe chronic PTSD.

    Which I didn’t know… I just thought severe grief. 16 weeks after it happened, I tried to return to work. I did this for almost 2 years. Work tried, I tried, but without diagnosis and treatment time rolled on.

    I did eventually (by my own means) get a diagnosis and treatment. But it was too late to save my job. I had been too ill too long. So in October 2012, I had to leave my job…. going from 26k a year, to 71 a week on ESA.

    For the first time, whilst I was still doing EMDR therapy for PTSD, I was reliant on benefits…..

    But…. I had a spare bedroom….. that my daughter should be sleeping in….. because she died…………..because of NHS negligence…….

    So, I either have to live with a stranger. Or give up my home….. or….. hopefully for a while, until I can return to work again, get DHP.

    This country is in a mess. In every area.

    Papers have been served against NHS for 20 counts of negligence. I can only hope that it is over – before I am evicted from my home. So that for now I can pay the rent (as I have done last few years 23,000 paid in rent) …… until I can work again.

    Not everyone Mr Cameron is like someone on Jeremy Kyle. This is to me, the worst policy I have ever known in housing. And if you have worked in it, then you have seen those changes. All the time. See you work with supporting people. All the changes from that, where we had to jump threw hoops and now, the cut backs from that, affecting services and jobs. And the jobs that were are now advertised at 8k at least less than they were before…. as that is all they can afford to pay.

    rant over! 🙂

  13. if u have worked in housing for 27 years, have a BA Hons degree in it then you know under this law whether u get carers allowance or not YOU CANNOT HAVE A 2ND BEDROOM under this new law-that’s why my disabled mother has to move whether she is disabled or not because they have too many bedrooms! no law is simple as black and white and if you knew as much as you THINK you do about law, then you would know the reason we have lawyers is because all law is open to interpretation when being applied that’s why we have judges who MAKE DECISIONS AFTER HEARING ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST- no law is set in stone black and white

  14. The problem with moving is that there are not any 1 or 2 beds available. There is nowhere to go They did not build them as they focused more on family house building what there is available are generally 3 beds so why are they not all filled up if there is a waiting list?

    1. There is a waiting list because average social housing rent is half the cost of private renting!! Greater security of tenure enabling a family to put down roots that enables a familiy to work as expenditure is cheaper (average private tenant needs to earn £6k than a social tenant just to pay added rent costs – much more in London) and social housing does not act as a disincentive to take up employment which private renting cost does. Also can save more towards a deposit if your rent is £6k per year cheaper so social housing can act as a step up much better than private renting

  15. i have read all of your comments and have issues with this proposed ‘extra room’ tax as well. My understanding is that ‘social housing’, including housing associations, should be somewhat cheaper than private rental properties that are out there. Why is it then that my rent is actually dearer than private rent properties, well it will be in April! Also in the ‘housing overcrowdment bill’


    page 6 and 7 defines who can reside in a room that is less than 70sqm, this can be deemed as a bedroom for any child aged 5 or under as they are deemed as a ‘0.5’ person, however, as soon as that child turns 5 that room could no longer be deemed as a bedroom!

    I am in housing association accommodation and have discussed with other tenants about our 54.6sq. ft. bedroom falling into this category and it is our intention to write to the HA and ask that they downgrade the 3 bed properties to 2 beds, or 2.5 beds if they can get away with it, as the above legislation was passed in parliament in 1985 and I can’t seem to find any further amendments to this legislation so this must be a loop hole? Now residents attention have been raised about a ‘bedroom’ 70sq. ft. or less is only habitable for a child under 5, whether this new ‘bedroom tax’ legislation gets quashed or not, I am sure there will be a lot of legal battles for downgrading of properties and also claiming back overpaid council tax and rent. The Government have opened up a real can of worms. Just one loop hole that we have come across, I wonder how many more!?!

  16. I am a single parent (father) of 4 (3xG 1xB) and have raised my children in our family home for the last 15 years. During that time I have made many many sacrifices to improve the house and create a a home that my children could feel proud of, safe in and comfortable enough within that they could grow up to be the best version of themselves our circumstances would allow.

    One of my children has a severe disability and I now act as her full time carer, this presents its own problems and often means she cannot sleep in the same room as 2 of her sisters.

    My other three children are currently at University, they stay in Halls of Residence for large parts of the year but still spend cumulatively around 4 months at home. They havn’t left home, they will all return to live in the family home when their degree’s are completed.

    This whole Bedroom/Poll Tax is a complete ill thought out farce that has been hastily rattled through in a panic because the Tory Government knows it’s austerity policies are failing. They seem to bee thrashing around like a drowning man trying to grab anything they feel might keep them afloat. True to Conservative ideology they have firmly fixed their sights on the working classes and the poorest of society.

    What was that line from the Titanic movie?
    Rose ” half the people on the ship are going to die”
    Hockley “Not the better half”

    The Bedroom Tax proves that nothings really changed in the 100 years since that disaster

  17. No-one here has said how that Room should be facilitated. I have read the Comments about size etc which made some valid Points, but if I were a Parent of a Child of either below 5 – or even 10 – I wouldn’t put them in a Room that has no Heating or a Wall Socket to plug any into. My Tenancy Agreement says my Flat is a One Bedroom Flat because of this, while the other Room (approx 55 square feet) I use a Box Room. It has neither. Despite this I have received a Letter from the HBO telling me of a Deduction in Benefit obviously based on the new Legislation – starting April 1st.

    The Madness of this Policy is how they expect People to either find that 14% Rent or move to a One Bedroom Flat. If I did the latter I would probably pay at least £200 PM more to a private Landlord – which I would claim as HB – thus not saving the local Government any Money at all – and costing them as much as an extra £50 PW.

    In this Situation the only People who benefit are private Landlords, not the Social Housing Tenant, the Housing Benefit People or even Social Housing Landlords.

    How is this saving Money by a Government?

  18. my local housing association have decided that my house is three bedrooms and as such i am paying bedroom tax on two rooms i have my grandaughter stop at weekends so the first bedroom is taken … they say the attic is classed as a bedroom but this room has no fire escape window in it and no door on it and never has had a door on it surely they cant class this as a bedroom because it is not a private room ??? and surely they cant just come and put a door on it and say its a bedroom or can they ???

    1. attic room? what height is this? and no window? That is NOT a bedroom for many reasons and you need to challenge the councils decision which has accepted the landlords word. You have a right of appeal and should use it

  19. it does have a window but it is not a fire exit window and i believe by law they must be installed there is room for a single bed but no bedroom furniture and there is no door on the stairs to it and it has never had a door on it

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