Local councils could take 150,000 to 200,000 households out of the bedroom tax at a stroke by ruling that a bedroom has to have a minimum usable floor space of 70 square feet. This is within their powers to do lawfully as I argued in detail yesterday yet local councils are either ignorant of this or they lack the will to do this and in doing so local councils benefit financially as do tenants, landlords and the local economy.
The argument is a very simple and factual one, councils have discretion to determine what a bedroom is yet they claim that they do not have such discretion by saying there is no legal definition of a bedroom.
There is not I agree a legal definition of ‘bedroom’ yet there is no legal definition of “sheltered housing” either and local council HB departments make decisions on what is and is not sheltered housing on a daily basis and have done for decades.
The principle is exactly the same and local councils simply do not have the political will or economic competence to rule this way and yes that goes for those councils all too eager to sign symbolic and in practical terms useless No Eviction motions from local campaigning groups.
There is nothing left to argue as the above sums it up concisely. All that is left and needed is for tenants to appeal the sham bedroom tax decisions they were given and to bombard your local council with pressure to rule that a bedroom for bedroom tax purposes has to have a minimum and usable floor space of 70 square feet.
Those who wish to research the ‘sheltered’ housing aspect further should read Oxford -v- Vasey C3/2011/2163. You may also wish to read again LB Croydon’s definition of a bedroom for bedroom tax purposes which they informed False Economy of in response to their requests sent to all councils and which Croydon advised housing associations to adopt for determining bedroom tax cases there:
“The council is applying the national bedroom standard to assess under-occupation. The definition used in calculating the number of bedrooms in council properties is the definition of statutory overcrowding contained in the Housing Act 1985, thus we disregard rooms measuring less than 50 sq ft and treat a room measuring between 50 and 69 sq ft as adequate only for a child under 10.”
If Croydon can do this why can’t your council?