The Upper Tribunal has decided that a room that has been slept in does not make it a bedroom. This is very significant and the relevant part of this judgment in case CH/ 2512 / 2015 is below:
As you can see from the wording the tenant’s daughter had slept in the room many years before which the original First-tier Tribunal said carried little weight and which the council appealed to the Upper Tribunal as an error of law.
The Upper Tribunal totally dismisses the councils line of argument that a room slept in before makes that room a bedroom. The daughter as a young child had no other place to sleep in this case and the room in question was very unusually shaped like a 50 pence piece with 7 corners in the room and two windows. The only place in which an adult sized single bed would fit would mean the door to the room could not open fully and so as well as size and configuration and layout this room failed to be a bedroom under access as well.
This shape of room is clearly bizarre and highly unusual yet what this case says about a room formerly used to sleep in is significant. So many councils says you have slept in the room ergo it is a bedroom and that argument is demolished by the Upper Tribunal in this case and on the basis of the individual facts of this case.
While it does not say that a room slept in before is not a bedroom in all cases, it does say that it is a legal fiction to assert that if a room has been slept in previously that it is a bedroom. As with all correct cases this one has been decided on the individual facts of the individual case and again stresses the point I have always stressed about the Nelson case and even before that on this issue of individual facts.
Nelson to remind says at  that: –
We also agree with the Secretary of State that the choice by Parliament of a test using an undefined familiar or ordinary English word supports the view that Parliament intended to allow decision makers to take account of all relevant circumstances on a case by case basis.
When any tenant contests a bedroom tax decision and all of them have been made by local councils choosing to accept the landlords word as this is the cheapest way to make each decision (despite being unlawful!) then the tenant has the absolute right to demand their local council consider all of the relevant circumstances on a case by case basis.
That means in every case that the local council (who is the decision maker in the above) need to come out and view each room that is disputed. Yet they choose not to (and be in contempt of what the legally binding Nelson decision says they MUST do) and instead come out with legal fictions such as it has been slept in before therefore it must be a bedroom.
This case shows that such an assumption is a legal fiction and that is why it is very significant.
In short, this case epitomises and highlights the bullshit arguments that local councils make in order NOT to go to the cost of coming out and seeing whether a room is or is not a bedroom. It also highlights that tenants are found guilty and have to prove their innocence because councils CHOOSE to believe what the landlord says as that is the cheapest option for every local council.
We are now 3 years into the bedroom tax and hundreds of thousands of tenants have wrongly and unlawfully had the bedroom tax imposed on them. Thousands of tenants have now been evicted for purely bedroom tax arrears and within them cases there will be children who have had their life chances irreparably damaged by being evicted and made homeless – and all because local councils took the cheapest and unlawful option in making the bedroom tax decisions.
That fucking stinks and fucking stinks whether the local council is run byLabour, Conservative, SNP, Plaid Cymru or Green or any other parties.
It also fucking stinks because if tenants have not appealed previously and they do now and win it sees all the bedroom tax that has been deducted unlawfully from them by this sham of a decision making process lost for good and not capable of being claimed back.
The above – that the room has been slept in before ergo it is a bedroom – is just one bullshit excuse that local councils come up with in order to justify their sham, unlawful and contemptuous decision making process in the bedroom tax policy a point I have been making since before the bedroom tax began (see here from April 2013 and previous) and now we are seeing just how outrageous that decision making process is as so many CHILDREN have been evicted because it was cheaper for your council to make an unlawful decision!
Just think on that – Your council has decided to evict children and fuck over their life chances rather than go to the cost of making a lawful decision!