A very interesting Directions Notice has been issued by a bedroom tax tribunal judge in Kent. In essence get off your backside and measure the purported bedroom has been issued to the council.
I have no more information on this other than what the above Notice says as it has just appeared on Facebook but what it does say is remarkable.
The role of the First-tier Tribunal is to find fact and given there is an absence of a formal legal definition of the term “bedroom” the judge has to decide whether any claimed bedroom is, in fact, a bedroom or some other form of room. The bedroom tax being so named as it doesn’t apply on any room other than a bedroom
The Tribunal is clearly annoyed with the council as he has also directed – or ordered – that the council must (a) inspect; (b) measure; (c) actually do a review of its original decision; (d) respond specifically to the tenants points put to it with regards to LACORS (guidance on 2004 Housing Act) issues; (e) placed time limits on all of the above, and then (f) get their backsides into the tribunal hearing when this case is heard.
Note too the judge has been very specific in his directions to the council as to usable floor space by asking for measurements of door openings and radiators as well. Be interesting to see how this develops though why the judge saw fit to give the council 5 weeks to go out and measure a room is far too long.
An interesting aspect here is that, unless I am mistaken, the Respondent being the council is in a corporate sense not just the HB department. So has the judge in fact directed the landlord to prove the room size? No judge can direct a non-council landlord such as a housing association as they are not a party to the bedroom tax or any other HB decision. Yet is an ALMO still part of the council? If so, it seems a Tribunal may be able to issue a direction to the ALMO as landlord as well as the council as landlord.
Anyone cynical enough to suggest that the council or ALMO landlord will invoke paragraph 20 of the A4/2012 bedroom tax guidance which says the landlord doesn’t have to provide the council HB department with any information on the property whatsoever?
This could be an interesting case!!