Joe Halewood is a housing consultant with over 20 years experience.

I focus upon how welfare reform policies such as the bedroom tax and benefit cap impact on the social housing model, on tenants and on landlords and develop solutions to those problems for social housing rather than dwell on and bemoan the many problems they cause.

Welfare reform (sic) – as reform means to improve – is all about people and how they react.  It is not about bricks and mortar in the traditional housing view and welfare reforms policies put the social into social housing and bring it to the fore.  The change needed for social housing is radical

The welfare reform agenda is a seismic cultural shift for social housing and yet not all of the consequences and impacts are known and many are speculative leading to uncertainty with an acceptance of the need to change yet not knowing how to change and in which direction to turn.

If social landlords and tenants don’t change and begin to challenge these reforms and keep their we have always done it this way culture there will soon be nothing left to fight for or over.

The radical nature of the policies require radical responses both reactively and proactively from a sector that is set in its ways and is very cautious by nature and habit.

Now with the May 2015 election result giving a Conservative majority and carte blanche to fully implement their reforms upon what they term the subsidised sector its going to be lively and busy the next 5 years.

Joe regularly speaks at conferences and seminars over welfare reform issues and provokes much discussion in lively debates. Yet words are nowhere near enough and actions need to be taken in order to preserve the social housing model

Updated 25 August 2015

Regrettably the alleged ‘social’ landlord is not going to fight for the social housing model and that means the humble social tenant is going to have to fight for it. Housing associations and other social (sic) landlords are only interested in their own plight and increasingly abandoning the social tenant while keeping up a pretence of caring for them with repeated hollow statements over their founding ethos and how they will always support the vulnerable.  This is a sham and a pretence.

My posts will begin to reflect that in their usual forthright way and I will pull no punches and aim to provide purposeful advice to vulnerable social tenants even if that position appears to be one of gamekeeper turned poacher.  It is time for tenants to fightback and to mobilise with the huge latent political power they have in numbering over 5 million voters in 3.9 million SRS households.

The fight for the greater cause, that of the social housing model which provides a safety net for vulnerable people created in the welfare state needs to be saved and if social (sic) landlords who are positioning themselves as the social tenant enemy have to be seen that way, then so be it!


25 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Joe.
    I wanted to ask you some questions please??
    By now, people are starting to get their letters of their rent increase and service charge.
    Whether a Council or housing Association Tenant.

    Obviously the new rents are going to affect how much BT people are supposed to be paying.

    Could you look into this??

    I believe there could be a right to appeal the rent increase??

    I believe it depends on when your Tenancy starts???

    Mine, quotes the Housing Act 1998.

    And it says if you don’t accept the new rent, and don’t wish to discuss with your Landlord. You can refer this notice to your local rent assessment committee.
    This must be done before April 1st. Using Oyez Form HA34
    Could this backfire though if they set the rent if it were let on the open market rent??

    If so, ARE they are covering their arses.

    I have an assured Tenancy and have lived in my 3 bed HA house for over 21 years. And it has been adapted for my needs.

    My new rent is £118.01.
    I live alone now. So will have to pay 25% of that.

    Plus CT on top of that!!


    I’m also wondering if the DWP should be contacted??
    Informing them of BT and CT that has to be paid out of our benefits.
    As it always says: This is the amount the law says you need to live on.
    Is there any process to appeal to them.
    Mr. Daft, is head of their correspondance team.


    ALSO, do you know where there is clarification of the term they use. ‘SIGNIFICANTLY’ adapted???

  2. Hi Joe

    Everyone seems to be focusing on what constitutes a “bedroom”. Myself and my hubby are classed as having a spare room. We live in a 2 bedroomed house, but don’t share a bedroom. Hubby is disabled and due to his condition doesn’t sleep well. I was sexually abused as a child and don’t want to share a bedroom with him. No-one from the council or the Housing Association asked how we used our rooms. Its just been assumed that as a couple we can share a bedroom. This is NOT the case. How do we challenge the decision and make an appeal?


  3. personally I would advice to just reapply, and keep doing so, if you know your entitled to the extra room and can not live without it, aka health reasons etc if you do not need it then why not look at moving,

  4. if you have a disability that means you require a carer to come and stay with you, then you can have the room for that reason,
    If the owner of the page could message me direct i could upload some information that is direct from MP office,
    Also the gov also accept ( same as in DLA and carer allowance ) a carer can be a friend or family member who does not normally live with you,

    1. You can claim a spare room for a non-resident carer if you are the tenant or the tenants partner but not for example if your child requires a non-resident carer. The details can be found in the A4 of 2010 HB circular

      1. If you’re an expert on this subject how come you don’t know, and aren’t advising people, that if the other room is not used as a bedroom – has no bed, but is used for storage or study, it is not a bedroom and is not counted as such. All anyone has to do is tell the council they are entitled to full housing benefit and why. It’s called a bedroom tax because it’s a tax on spare bedrooms. Duh!

  5. Exactly Joe… which is what I am fighting for right now. My daughter is 18 & we need our ‘spare’ room for a sleep-in carer a few times every month (the only sleep we get). So they tell me, because the paid-carer is not continuous, we are therefore not exempt. As if ‘normal’ people can afford a full-time paid-for carer!! Yet David Cameron spouted that anyone reqiring continual care would be exempt…. so very NOT true, as my daughter requires care & supervision both day & night… but as that care is mainly provided by us, her parents, and our sleep-in carer is not every night…We are therefore not exempt, and the fact that she DOES need continual care seemingly will not count!
    Tried to add my daughter to our tenancy last year to give her some security should anything happen to us, but they refused, saying her disabilities would prevent her from understanding & maintaining the tenancy. Thus, if she can never be a tenant, she would never be exempt from the spare bedroom farce anyway under the current rules!! So much for equality for disabled people, eh?!

  6. Joe, I have a response from Wirral Council to the six-point ‘request for information’ letter which I would like please to share with you for your comments. Please advise me how to do this. Robert Claridge, South Wirral Against the Bedroom Tax 07956 458 331

  7. Joe – I regularly scan your pages for information about bedroom tax, however, I never hear any mention of STUDENTS. I am a single parent living in a 3 bedroomed house and both my sons have made it to university. My local authority, Chichester District Council, determine that I am underoccupying and that I should downsize to a one bedroom home. The first and most obvious question that everybody asks is “Where are they supposed to go during the holidays” Quite so. How many home owning parents say to their sons/daughters, in their very first week at university, “Right, that’s it, we don’t expect to see you back home again” ?
    I have appealed against their decision and have to send my response to the Tribunals Service next week
    I’d really love to hear your thoughts
    Sue Berrisford
    07788 600673

    1. Sue

      This area is very much up for debate. The official guidance in the A4/2012 says this : –

      “My child is away at university, can I keep their room for when they are home in the holidays? The new size limit rules do not allow for this, unless the absence is temporary (less than thirteen weeks or 52 weeks for students) and the young person concerned intends to return home.”

      It suggests and should be argued that if your son(s) are away at university but intend to return home then a room should be allocated for them in terms of housing need.

      1. Just get rid of the bed, use it for storage, and have an air bed or similar for when child at home. You don’t get penalised for a spare room.

  8. Joe

    Just a quick thank you for all your posts about the hated bedroom tax. My partner was successful at an appeal tribunal in Birkenhead last week in respect of a 66ft square ‘spare’ room in her Plus Dane ground floor flat.

    The appeal was largely based upon

    > historic and current use of the room as a dressing room
    > the history of the complex (ex pensioner accommodation)
    > current and historic use of the same room in the other identical flats (never used as
    bedrooms in any of the other flats)
    > size – not big enough to furnish in the way you would expect a ‘bedroom’ to be furnished;
    for example couldn’t fit in wardrobe and dressing table as well as a bed
    > Fife first tier tribunal decisions
    > too small for a lodger

    We wouldn’t have even appealed if it wasn’t for your posts. So the fact that we did, and that we had the material to support the appeal is purely down to you. So thanks again.

  9. This is great news. I’m trying to keep track of all the positive bedroom tax decisions, and if there is any way we can have the full decision on the blog that would be great. Even better if there is a statement of reasons. Ruth Knox

    1. Hi Ruth

      Yes was a surprise to me this one too and I have asked the person to contact me over it. As usual the tenant can be fully anonymised and I am sure they will want their specific cases publicised so that many more vulnerable people affected by the bedroom tax can take heart from it and appeal too.

    2. There was even a scene in a recent Benefits programme in which the claimant stated clearly he used the spare room as a spare room and not a bedroom and was thus not liable. This was not contradicted by the programme makers.

  10. Joe: brilliant post but can you correct a few typos so we can share?

    Esther McVey merely talks pants and clearly she does not wear them else they would be on fire! Yes IT’S another of the bedroom tax bullshit stories emanating from McVey and probably a good reason why she doesn’t wear knickers though she clearly has a fur cost WITH (?) all the spin (aka superficial bullshit) she comes out with


  11. Hi Joe. Was wondering if you could help. I am currently looking at putting in an appeal for myself and really need more in depth clarification as to who is exempt from “bedroom tax” I was given a 3 bedroom house nearly three years ago for myself and my son. This property is a homeless unit/temporary accommodation which is owned by a housing association but allocated by the local authority homeless section. There are arrears on my rent account which I have had to start paying as I have been warned that the housing association were about to issue a section 21 on the grounds of arrears. Is that actually legal!!!! I looked at the exemption laws by Freud and I believe I am exempt and so should all other homeless units!!!! Kind regards Valerie Edwards PS the arrears are all bedroom tax arrears

    1. Hi Valerie, Have you applied for a DHP?? It could be that as you have lived there for 3 years. Makes it no longer classed as temporary accommodation.
      There are several reasons you can appeal on. Such as room size and/or room use.

    2. Is there a bed in the room? Wardrobe, chest of drawers etc as needed for a bedroom? If not it’s not a bedroom. Fill it up with spare boxes!

  12. Hi Joe I have recently discovered you. Your work and all the information is fantastic. It is very empowering. Today I have spoken to and passed on your link to some of the media/newspapers and many councillors. I have spoken to Shelter and the citizens advice about your work. They are going to pass it on and try and get in touch with you. Thank you very much for all your information. The world needs people like you.

  13. Hi Joe, I have left a comment on one of your other posts re bedroom tax , I have my statement from court, I am willing to make it public anonymously, if it can help anyone, regards

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