Stop misleading tenants and do your homework!

Quick post to remind housing associations to do their homework and NOT mislead their tenants.  I mean inadvertantly by the ignorance of housing staff as to welfare reform changes.

To explain: – one HA has created and is raising awareness of a “bedroom tax calculator” (BTC) it has developed through twitter and no doubt its own website.  The BTC asks for age of oldest tenant and how many children aged under 10, 11 to 16, and over 16 and the gross rent figure.  It then computes if you are underoccupying and how much less you will receive in HB from April 2013.  This then simply deducts 14% of gross rent is underoccupying by 1 bedroom and 25% if by two bedrooms.  Fine you may think?

HOWEVER, it does not ask what welfare benefits you receive and this is important as on the same date in April 2013 the overall benefit cap comes online.  If you are a large family with 6 children claiming all the welfare benefits you are entitled to you will receive ZERO in HB.  This is because your already receive in excess of £500pw.

Yet the bedroom tax calculator could say you will receive 100% of your HB or 86% of it or 75% of it an not zero which is the correct answer.

The HA in question is one of many developing such ‘simple’ bedroom tax calculators, all in good faith I may add as a service for their tenants.  Yet when your landlord tells you that you are not underoccupying and will carry on receiving say £120pw for you 4 or 5 bedroom property when in fact you will receive £0.00 per week and have to make up your rent from your welfare benefits, then the tenant will likely blame the landlord for this and not central government!

So can HAs please do their homework and include the overall benefit cap in any future bedroom tax calculators.  If you dont you will have a lot of very angry tenants!!




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