The bedroom tax is dead. I’ll repeat that in case your eyes deceive you reader, the bedroom tax is dead!
There was a hugely significant appeal win in South Wales I discussed and posted about earlier and I called the bedroom tax a lesser spotted Dodo. My apologies reader the bedroom tax is ‘deader’ than that upon reading the actual judgment!
Tenant has bedroom tax applied as landlord and council say he has a 4 bed. Tenant says 2 smallest rooms are too small (60.7 and 69.4 sq/ft) and that they are used as an art room and as a study.
Tenant at tribunal raises the recently announced Bolton Upper Tribunal decision that gives a definition of bedroom. The Bolton judgment finally appeared officially here
Time to see what the Monmouth judgment says:
‘Bedroom’ is not defined by the legislation. This has most recently been pointed out in the Upper Tribunal decision 2014 UKUT 48 AAC. A(t) paragraph 19 of that decision the Tribunal helpfully refer to various definitions of a bedroom.”
Paragraph 19 said in simple terms that ‘bedroom’ is a room used as or furnished as sleeping accommodation.
Paragraph 14 of the judgment then goes on to say:
“The Tribunal finds that neither of the two smallest rooms are bedrooms. They do not contain beds, they are not used for sleeping, they can only be occupied by a child under 10, a half person…”
They do not contain beds, they are not used for sleeping...as social media will say OMFG!!!
So what does this mean?
- The first thing is that this judgment appears the first known judgment to use the Bolton definition of ‘bedroom’ to mean a room needs to be used as or furnished as a bedroom to be a bedroom.
- Secondly, ALL 523,000 bedroom tax decisions taken by councils before April 2013 saw those councils assume in every single case that if a room could be a bedroom then it was and is a bedroom. That assumption and sham of a decision making process which I have ranted and raved against all this time is now proven to be the sham I said it was.
- Thirdly, it means that the Bolton UT decision despite being made public in January 2014 applies to all of the bedroom tax decisions made so far.
- Fourthly, it provides a huge fillip and a huge necessity for every single one of those households affected by the bedroom tax should appeal and appeal right now. This is because your bedroom tax decision needs to be made on the individual facts of your case and the sham of a decision making process that saw every council take the view that if it COULD be a bedroom then it was a bedroom is legally unreliable.
- Fifthly, it DOES mean and does follow that your local council needs to KNOW that a room in your property is USED AS or is FURNISHED AS a bedroom and they can only do this by coming out to inspect. Yes that means my home city of Liverpool needs to inspect 10,750 or so properties to be ‘satisfied’ (and how ironic is that word in light of the U1/2014 Dear Reader!!) that your rooms are in fact bedrooms.
- Yet sixthly, no council has the time or the resources to go out and inspect every one of the properties that are bedroom tax affected! It simply cannot be done.
What flows from this is that no local council can make a bedroom tax decision for 2014/15 without having inspected a property. The decision cannot be made.
It also means that every single bedroom tax household can and should appeal their bedroom tax decision made for the 2013/14 financial year as there is no way that their council could have KNOWN that rooms in their properties were used as or furnished as a bedroom.
Yet it goes further than that!!
How can a single person have three bedrooms at all? Unless that tenant asserts they have watched every single episode of Star trek and can teleport so as to sleep in all 3 bedrooms at one time, they can only have one bedroom.
There is no such thing as under occupancy!!
A single tenant living in a property with 3 rooms that councils have to date said were ‘bedrooms’ may have 1 bedroom to sleep in and may furnished another room as a bedroom for a guest and so they may have a 3 bedroomed property but only 2 bedrooms and as such the bedroom tax if applicable would apply only to 2 bedrooms being in that property and not 3 as has been the case till now.
I could go on and on with what this means. However, what is far more important is that all those like myself that detest the pernicious bedroom tax policy MUST go out and MUST find every single bedroom tax affected household and tell them to APPEAL, APPEAL and APPEAL.
If they do and this judgment gives them every justification and legitimate grounds to do so then the bedroom tax is dead.
It is over, defunct, brown bread, deceased, late, departed, finished, done with, extinct, is moribund, it is pining for the fjords, it is demised, it is stunned, it is an ex-policy (it is an ex parrot..see!) Yet the dead parrot sketch well done reader and where did that take place…ah yes a shop in Bolton!!! …ooh I do love a bit of irony!!
Though personally I would prefer to see Iain Duncan Smith’s face when he reads this as that would a picture…a face that launches a thousand ships…all riddled with holes and made out of his discarded fag packets. Ships that sink without trace just like the bedroom tax policy!
But of course the IDS we all know will have a rant about these bloody judges and their interference….I can see him know…How dare they say bedroom has its ordinary everyday meaning! Just who do they think they are!! Council get that statement of reasons and send it to me now, personally, else ……I will let your imagination finish that one reader!
Sorry reader I must come across as a bit smug in my tone in this post. I am right now and I make no apologies for that whatsoever! When was the last time you were grinning like a Cheshire Cat when you were typing…oh sod that I’m digressing…the judgment is below.
One final but important point. I have been getting praise for the work I have done in challenging the bedroom tax. This has not been possible without the fantastic work and fantastic people in ReClaim who deserve huge credit for the huge part they have played in getting to where we are now – the end of the bedroom tax.
This decision will see 523,000 households containing about 1,300,000 men women and children reclaim (pun fully intended) their lives and their homes, homes that no government has any bloody right whatsoever to stick their noses into. Now its time to rub their noses in it ….but no doubt they will still manage to find another teflon coated trough in which to put them!
Appeal people all 523,000 of you and lets ALL make sure we find all 523,000 of them and they all put in an appeal. Direct action, people power call it what you like but it is very legitimate and it is not flase hope as some stupidly say. All of us who want rid of this pernicious bedroom tax now know that is what we need to do, we have it in our hands to make sure we do, and that is to get every single bedroom tax affected household to appeal the bedroom tax decisions that so blight their lives, and when they do…il est morte!
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