23/09/2012 11:19 am
Before I start, I must explain that I am a bit confused by the proposed changes to housing benefit, so my observations may be completely incorrect. It will be useful to be corrected, as there do appear to be many unanswered questions about the proposed changes?
I have just looked at, what appears to be, the new 'housing benefit calculator', on the Direct.Gov website? Once the correct informatin is fed into the system, a standard regional rent charge is displayed.
If each County is to have 'standard rental charges', based solely on the number of bedrooms in a property, Councils will presumably need to begin the housing benefit changes, by adjusting many rents, in order to remove most existing valuation criteria (information which is typically used by letting agents)?
Once every housing association tenant in the County is paying the same rent, the bedroom tax will be used to calculate whether or not tenants housing benefits will need be subject to further changes/deductions.
In the unlikely event that I have managed to understand the proposed bedroom tax changes correctly, I am not sure how easy it will be to evaluate savings from such changes.
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24/09/2012 12:14 pm
The 'standard rental charges' sounds more like the maximum amount of Housing Benefit that will be paid in that area for each size of property - one bed, two bed and so on.
These have been in place for a long time but may have been different amounts int he past and are used currently in calculating Local Housing Allowance which is paid to private tenants. It's not an amount that has been set for landlords to charge.
For example, if I needed to claim I would be entitled to a one bedroom rate which in my area is/or will be a maximum of £250 per week. If I rent somewhere that costs more than that I would have to pay the difference. If I rent somewhere that costs less than £250 per week I would only get my actual rent amount paid not the maximum amount.
Social Housing rents should be quite a bit less than these standard amounts so there would be no reason to change the rent because of them.
25/09/2012 1:40 pm
There are 3 different things too address from your query
1. The local housing allowance is paid to private tenants not to housing association/council tenants. The amount is based on the bedrooms needed, bedsit/1 bed /2 bed etc. for each particular local authority area, so it can vary from one place to the other.
2. In time all housing association and council housing rents are meant to come into line and tenants would pay the same amount (i think it was meant to happen in 2016, but I am not sure where that plan is up to).
3. bedroom tax - if you claim housing benefit and live in a housing association property or council property and have a spare bedroom the housing benefit may be reduced by 14%, if you have 2 spare bedrooms it will be reduced by 25%. If you are a tenant, I would contact your housing officer to ask for advice.
i hope this makes some of it clear.
29/11/2012 9:01 pm
I feel that the coming changes that will come into effect fom April 2013 in housing benefit reductions will be detrimental to the Uk. The bedrrom tax is a drastic measure and will mean that those in homes with spare bedrooms will be penalised in having to find the shortfall, 14% for 1 bedroom unoccupied and 25% for 2 bedrooms. This is nothing short of a bullying tactic to force people to move as previous meeasures ie, offering cash incentives to downsize have not worked. There is also huge discrimination in this decision as some people will not be affected. Those to be affected are those that fall into the working age group ie, 16-61 years olds. It has been suggested that people can take in lodgers to help with this issue. How unethical is that? Do people want to take in strangers into their homes? Highly unlikely as it poses risks to people. Would Ian Dunken Smith be happy to have a stranger move into his home? If this country is in that much financial difficulty why are we giving 27 billion a year to other countries? Says it all really, jokers
30/11/2012 11:07 am
What good for Social Tenant should be good for MP's and Councillor's
30/11/2012 12:19 pm
Not really they work so they may need somewhere additional to live/stay if they have to re-locate/commute a lot as part of the employment if it's cheeper than constantly paying for hotels for example. So it's not the same really is it. In fact it's not even relevant when you scratch beneath the surface.
30/11/2012 5:02 pm
What happens when large numbers of tenants decide to move
to a smaller council home / will they then be given
a short term insecure tenancy / or will they remain secure tenants ?
02/12/2012 7:45 pm
Many people claiming housing benefit work. A third of housing benefit clamimants work but as a result of low pay claim HB. 47% of those in homes that have unoccupied bedrooms are not prepared to move so this bedroom tax will not work. Who can blame them as many tenants would have spent money decorating and improving their homes. This tax will also increase homelessness. What next? Tent tax?
12/12/2012 1:28 pm
From 1st April 2013, as one of the changes introduced by The Welfare Reform Act the government will introduce the ‘bedroom tax’ for new and existing, working age housing benefit claimants living, in social housing. The effect of this proposed change is that residents may receive less housing benefit if they have spare bedrooms and may see a reduction of around £11 a week for one ‘extra’ bedroom not used, or £20 with two, possibly more depending on where you live. The change will only apply if you are under 65 however. You mentioned the direct.gov web page and in case others want to look at it, see below.
You also mentioned valuations. The application of new rules means that the Local Housing Allowance (LHA),is now used to calculate HB for social housing tenants. The Valuation Office Agency has a good web site which shows the LHA by borough and also has a separate LHA bedroom calculator which might help.
The object of the exercise, as far as the government is concerned, is to reduce the HB bill, and one way is to now apply the HB rules on ‘under occupation’ that currently apply to private sector tenants, to social housing tenants. I hope this helps.
12/12/2012 4:38 pm
The Direct Gov website includes a section called the ‘benefits adviser’ that allows people to calculate benefits including housing benefits. The site also includes links to housing benefit calculators on local authority websites.
There is obviously a difference between rent and housing benefit for social tenants and rent and housing benefit for private tenants.
Rents in England for social tenants are set by the local authority or housing association with reference to the government’s rent restructuring formula. This is not changing as a result of the government’s changes to welfare benefits. Rents will continue to increase to target levels in 2015 and by inflation plus 0.5% a year thereafter. In Scotland and Wales government influences rather than controls social rents but, as in England, social rents are lower than private rents and are increasing faster than inflation.
Rents in the private sector are set by the landlord at ‘market’ levels.
Housing Benefit for private tenants is based on the ‘Local Housing Allowance’. This is calculated with reference to ‘market’ rents but the government is changing the way that the formulas work to reduce the ‘Local Housing Allowance’. Tenants may find that their housing benefit no longer covers all their rent and will either have to pay the difference themselves or find a cheaper tenancy.
Housing Benefits for social tenants will not be affected by the government’s changes to ‘Local Housing Allowances’.
However, the under-occupation penalty (or bedroom tax) will apply to all tenants of working age who claim housing benefit. Tenants with one spare room will face a 14% reduction in benefits while those with two spare rooms will face a 25% reduction in benefits. The government states that this penalty is designed to discourage under-occupation at a time when there is a shortage of housing. Critics say that it is an unfair penalty because many of the 670,000 tenants who will be affected do not have a realistic option of moving to a smaller home.