Bedroom Tax – landlord finds 10% of decisions incorrect…and Council blames Viagra?

Just a short post here on another blog post I have seen by Adrian White Chair of Impact Housing in Cumbria. It says:

7th May 2013

The Under-occupation penalty, that removes some housing benefit from social tenants with spare bedrooms, has now been in force for a month and we are beginning to see its implications.

At Impact Housing Association, where I am Chair, we have found that many of the tenants who are affected have yet to pay their contribution towards the rent. We have responded by visiting all affected tenants on our main estate at Salterbeck in Workington. What we found was that:

  • ·        There is no hostility. Tenants understand this is government policy and are prepared to talk to housing officers. Information that has been provided by Impact and the local media has been understood.
  • ·         One in ten of the tenants who had not paid the under-occupation penalty were not actually liable to pay – either because of incorrect assessments by the local authority or because of a change in circumstances such as the birth of a child.
  • ·         While tenants are prepared to make arrangements to pay, many tenants are upset and worried about how they can pay the under-occupation penalty.

The highlighted section above – that 1 in 10 bedroom tax decisions made are wrong – is incredibly interesting.  Nationally that would be 66,000 decisions.

Yet 10% is perhaps a better way to view this in light of the DWP expecting just 3% to appeal the bedroom tax decisions.  More than 3 times that number have wrong decisions and I would presume based on not being liable to pay else there has been a huge boom in birth rate in Workington (and among social tenants alone!) which seems just as incredulous as the DWPs 3% figure!!

Could it be that Cumbria Council’s HB departments are particularly inept or is there a possibility the 10% figure could be replicated across the country? Have other social landlords had similar findings? Have other social landlords even done similar research? if not then why not? – The list of questions could go on and on – maybe Viagra has escaped into the Sellafield area and become like an airborne bacteria who knows?

This research needs to be published and be very much more informative and deserves a much wider audience? Adrian, any plans?

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4 thoughts on “Bedroom Tax – landlord finds 10% of decisions incorrect…and Council blames Viagra?

  1. Surely if a tenant fails to tell the council that they have extra children in their household then that is the tenants fault and not the councils? And since last year the council can slap benefit claimants with a £50 civil penalty for failing to notify any change of circumstances even if that change gave the claimant extra money. How many of those who will be exempt from the bedroom tax because of previously undeclared children will find the council giving them a £50 fine?

  2. i had been waiting on the Bed tax decision and had not received it prior to moving to a one bedroom property. and as I was concerned about the time for appealing running out I contacted Bedford council only to find, despite me having informed them of my children leaving home as and when they left they had no record. Now I already now how good they are at such things, last year i got a lettering fine (not normally my kind of behaviour it was a very bad day and i was not thinking at time, normally my pockets need emptying of allsorts of rubbish if a bin is not nearby) I paid it, and 3 months later i was chased up for it. Now as I do not trust any part of council or organisations relating to gov or money I keep receipts for upto 5yrs. I have previous experience where i had been chased for something else 3 yrs after resolving the issue. Anyway i supplied the proof and this was resolved. The council gave no apology yet if I had not have kept it I would have had to pay it again. It is never their fault, hand delivering letters still doesn’t guarantee they receive it apparently. I wish I had kept my mouth shut about it as now I have to argue and fight for the wks between moving which is around £160 I cannot afford. I just wanted to point out that yes as claimants we have a duty to inform of change of circumstances, but it is not always due to lack of doing so. I also had someone come out in dec12 to go through everything so the information was given with the exception of my youngest who left a month later. I have had to move to another county and leave my children I dont know when i will be able to afford to see them again and my youngest is going to be 17next month and living in a hostel. she didnt want me to go through trauma off having to move again in future due to my health problems so moved to hostel which costs the council 3x my weekly rent every week so isnt saving money at all. I started packing 3yrs ago non essentials when i first applied to down size, as i would not have been able to do so in a hurry. I have had to sell furniture to pay for my move and now do not have a sofa of even an arm chair which is not helping my physical disability.

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