Bedroom Tax – This council flake is becoming the crumbliest distaste

All 660,000 bedroom tax decisions made by local councils affecting about 1.6 million men women and children are flaky as hell and its time councils stopped lying to bedroom tax tenants as those lies are rapidly beginning to crumble before our eyes.

Now that councils and councillors are stating they know it is up to them to define a bedroom it is time that all 660,000 social tenants issued an appeal against the bedroom tax decisions:

Yes every single one of them as ALL 660,000 bedroom tax decisions are unsafe and cannot hold.  Every single tenant has a right to appeal and huge justification and substantive merit in appealing even if such appeals are ‘out-of-time’ appeals.

Every one of the 660,000 social housing claimant households should appeal, has substantive merit to appeal and I would advise they do precisely that.

Let’s cut to the chase shall we?  How many council responses to tenants challenging the bedroom tax decisions have been met with lies by councils such as:

(a) It’s up to the landlord to define what a bedroom is

(b) It’s up to the landlord to say how many bedrooms each property has

(c) We have no discretion in making the bedroom tax decisions

Every council has said this yet lo and behold we see Welwyn Council unilaterally declaring that anything under 50 square feet cannot be a bedroom and now we have Bristol Council seeking to go even further with a call to review the definition of a “bedroom” and re-classify small rooms as “box rooms” or non-bedrooms; and a call to re-classify second rooms on ground floors as non-bedrooms.

Councils have no discretion?  It is up to landlords to define? Absolutely twaddle, pure unadulterated bullsh*t!

As I have always maintained, councils are the SOLE decision-makers on what is a bedroom and how many bedrooms a property has and now the proof is coming out by the day. 

  • Proof that councils knew all along it was their decision;
  • Proof that councils knew when they made the decisions and proof know that they knew it was their decision all along.
  • Proof that councils have been spineless in making the bedrooms tax decisions;
  • Proof that councils simply took the vested interest word of landlords as it was cheaper for councils to do this, and
  • Proof that councils have lied to every bedroom tax tenant when they said it is up to the landlord and we have no say or discretion.

We don’t need any further proof that all 660,000 original decisions were a sham and legally unreliable.and that councils have been lying to any tenant who challenges that such decisions were a sham.

It doesn’t make any difference if Bristol and Welwyn councils retract and say we are not defining any room under 50 square feet as a non bedroom – the fact they now it is in their gift or their powers to do is enough to expose the bedroom tax decision making processes they took as a sham.

Unless of course councils can come out with masses of legal opinion which says they had no discretion – which they won’t as they can’t as its untrue

That is why every single bedroom tax affected tenant has substantive merit in appealing the bedroom tax decisions and why they should do so.

1.6 million men women and children in these 660,000 households are adversely affected by sham decisions of public authority’s and this has to be a matter of public interest for lawyers. It can’t be anything else.

  • All councils knew they could decide to define a bedroom in terms of its size or any other factor yet they all chose not to do so because it would have cost them too much to do that. 
  • All councils merely accepted the view of social landlords who have a clear and undeniably vested interest in stating a property has as many bedrooms as possible.
  • All councils conveniently ignoring the fact the bedroom tax A4/2012 guidance issued by the DWP did NOT say there is no legal definition of bedroom – it only says the government will not be making a future definition. 
  • All councils again conveniently ignoring the 1985 Housing Act, the 1998 HSE guidance and the fact these same councils ask independent assessors to make 220,000 or so decisions each year over what is a bedroom and how many each private sector property has!
  • All councils knew they were on a sticky wicket and flaky legal ground yet they tried to cover this up by telling tenants they could not appeal, had no right of appeal, sidetracked them with FOI requests, and practised many other dirty tricks to dissuade tenants from their legal right to appeal as it cost the same councils money. 

And then to cap it all off they knowingly lied to tenants by saying they have no discretion in the matter and what a bedroom constitutes is up to the landlord!

To call the bedroom tax decisions flaky and a sham from start to finish is to give them false praise! Every single one of these 660,000 bedroom tax decisions needs to be thrown out and all 660,000 social housing HB claimants affected have substantive merit to appeal them on the bases and grounds above and they should appeal.

Some examples of council behaviour and public statements.
lcc mystic meg lcclett2p1 cornwall no appeal rightburyletter
I could add scores of council bedroom tax letters saying you cant appeal or we have no discretion and/or its up to your landlord and they litter previous posts concerning Bradford, Bury, Cornwall, Coventry, Leicester, Liverpool, Sefton, Leicester, Wiltshire and many others.  All of which are riddles with these knowing mistruths, deceptions, dissuasion and lets call it what they are…LIES.
Yet for me the most telling picture is the one from Bury which shows the detail f what landlords sent to councils and remembering that landlords didn’t have to supply anything at all to Councils and revealing the typical data on which councils took the decision to apply the bedroom tax.  It is stark in how scant it is and shows what a sham the entire bedroom tax decision making process was
On the basis of one line of data in a spreadsheet councils took the life changing decisions to impose the bedroom tax!  It is time for every bedroom tax affected tenant to appeal this farce and now that councils and councillors are admitting what I have been saying all along – that it is councils and only councils who decide what a bedroom is and how many bedrooms a property has and they are free and have the powers to decide what is NOT a bedroom then just how much substantive merit does the tenant need to appeal this utterly offensive sham and deceit?

11 thoughts on “Bedroom Tax – This council flake is becoming the crumbliest distaste

  1. If council’s take individual decisions for their areas it is inevitable that every different council, and there are hundreds, will come to different decisions and conclusions, some of them near in nature and others wildly differing. Yet this is supposed to be national law, not local. We are going to end up with post-code implementation with a bedroom defined differently in Islington & Shoreditch, which is as unjust as it is ridiculous.

    “We are not going to define what we mean by a bedroom,” says DWP. How so? To impose legislation which revolves around the existence or not of bedrooms requires that a ‘bedroom’ be defined; it’s a no-brainer. It is to be hoped that judges or tribunal chairmen pick up on this preposterous stance which is the result of nothing more than the drafters of the legislation being unable to produce a definition, probably because they hit many of the obstacles that local councils are now confronted with; and again we return to the possibility that ‘national’ legislation will be (mis)interpreted 300 different ways across the UK. For those who don’t know, many a government idea has fallen by the wayside for want of the ability to compose the legislation properly or to define a given object.

  2. I’ve just sent an appeal against the bedroom tax to my council who are also my landlord.

    I live alone in supported housing with a warden service due to my disabilities and use the spare box room for my crucial exercise equipment which is part of my on-going rehabilitation, physio approved/suggested, so is not just a spare room.

    So far I’ve paid 2 months of bedroom tax ( £50/month)

    Have used your ‘housing and council tax benefit dispute form’ and also enclosed the relevant housing act 1985 ‘the space standard’.

    I’m in South Lincolnshire and it’s a Tory council, edge of fenland farming area they’re all Torys, so don’t hold out much hope that they will suddenly come to their senses but at the least this will cost them a few quid in paperwork.

    £604 per year is a fortune when you have to rely on social security benefits while dealing with Atos, the DWP and the upcoming benefit cap.

    1. You may also want to ask your council to classify your property as “exempt accommodation” – a HB term which may exempt you altogether from having to pay anything

  3. Joe, I wrote to LCC 14th May explaining I had asked for info not FOI REQUEST and asked that they still supply this info etc… I received their reply 22nd june and have posted in a few groups asking if anyone else has received a similar reply but have had no response. They have provided very little of what I requested but in short state…. The LA does not define what a bedroom is for H/B purposes, their is NO requirement to do so under current H/b legislation. The LA DOES NOT HAVE either a formal or informal working definition of them. As you know I have a few “issues” regarding my own circumstances and will be seeing solicitor next week but would be grateful for any advice regarding how best to respond to this letter.

  4. I can’t honestly believe what I have just been told by the Wrekin Housing Trust in Telford. “There is no stated size for a bedroom and that a bedroom which can take even a single bed is usable as a bedroom. The size makes no difference, even if it measures only 7ft x 4ft if a bed can go in it then it’s a bedroom. This bedroom is a bedroom and will also be classified as usable by 2, YES 2, children.”

    1 bed – 2 children? WTF???? How can these SHL’s get away with this. This is breaking all the rules isn’t it?

    Even if an individual has an appeal in against the bedroom tax and also an application for DHP then they can still take legal action and be evicted. This is not only a bedroom tax, it’s a witch hunt against people on benefits.

  5. I’m putting together a paper outlining what Brighton & Hove Council should do to help local residents who are suffering because of Bedroom Tax and I have a question about this issue of who can decide what is a bedroom.

    When you talk about ‘councils’ making this decision, you mean the council’s housing benefit department, don’t you? But the decision made by Welwyn Hatfield council was concerned with council housing only – in other words, they were making the decision *as a landlord*.

    I understand your argument that councils (ie housing benefit departments) should accept that they are the ones responsible for making this decision in each case, but I don’t think it’s true that any councils have so far done that, is it?

    1. Who can decide what a bedroom is…for HB and bedroom tax purposes? That is the question and the answer is very simple. The HB department at the council has to decide what a bedroom is and how many bedrooms, however defined, each property has. In fact the HB decision maker HAS to decide that in taking every single bedroom tax decision.

      It is up to the landlord to accurately describe the PROPERTY yet it is for the councils HB dept only to decide what a bedroom is for bedroom tax purposes. They can choose to believe the landlords view or not, it is totally and SOLELY up to the council HB officer

      1. Thanks for replying. I understand that, but I’m just pointing out that in the cases you mentioned in this post – Welwyn Hatfield and Bristol – the HB department are not the ones doing the reclassifying. All councils that have done this so far have done it as landlords. Do you agree that is true?

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