Friday, 06 March 2015

DWP issues 'urgent bulletin' about bedroom tax tribunal decisions

The Department for Work and Pensions has issued an ‘urgent bulletin’ calling on councils to notify it about any tribunal decisions relating to the bedroom tax.

In a sign the DWP is growing increasingly concerned about tribunals upholding tenant appeals, the department has today issued a request for information. It says this is needed as the DWP may appeal against decisions even if councils have chosen not to.

The document said: ‘The DWP needs to get a clearer picture of the number of first-tier tribunal decisions where the removal of the spare room subsidy is the main issue.

‘Local authorities are therefore asked to notify [the] DWP of all first-tier tribunal decisions relating to this subject regardless of whether the decision is overturned or whether you intend to appeal adverse decisions.’

Where a tribunal has upheld a tenant’s appeal against a bedroom tax decision, the DWP is asking councils if they plan to appeal the decision or not.

Under the bedroom tax, social tenants of working age have their benefit deducted if they are deemed to have spare bedrooms. The DWP has purposely not defined a bedroom and said it is up to landlords to ‘describe the property in line with the actual rent charged.’ This has led councils to award benefit using information provided by housing associations.

However, a series of tribunal rulings, including four in Fife, Scotland, found councils have incorrectly applied the bedroom tax using information from landlords.

Tribunals have taken matters such as room size and use into account to decide rooms have incorrectly been classed as bedrooms. The rulings do not set a legal precedent, but if an appeal goes to the upper tribunal it does. The DWP has previously confirmed it intends to appeal cases where tribunals have referred to space standards.


Readers' comments (25)

  • Rick Campbell

    Surely they can't be running scared of this magnificent Tory achievement (and flagship policy) actually being the disaster predicted and councils ruling against the government just as courts have?

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  • Panic mode more like , and once again asking the councils and HAs to do their dirty work for them . Might be an Idea they scrap it and start building some smaller homes instead , a policy made by Idiots was always going to a fortune in LOST court cases , do this Government never learn nor listen hmmm it seems not !

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  • Chris

    Panic - unlikely from this centralist Junta - more like they will be ensuring the decisions go the right way by applying the Right's pressure against the layity and judiciary.

    It is time for tenants to sue their landlords for mis-informing the local authorities, for failing to advise tenants of their rights, for misrepresenting their property details, for years of overcharging for the 'extra' bedroom that turns out to not be a bedroom, and generally for collaboration with the Nasty Party.

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  • Rick Campbell

    It certainly looks as if IDS has got his underpants (whether paid for by himself, wife or even the taxpayer) in a right twist.

    Yet another chink in the government's armour -- how many kickings than this spiteful government survive?

    Nobody can say that we here, on IH, didn't warn about the accursed bedroom tax long before the term 'subsidy' came from IDS's lips (or wherever).

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  • My Town Hall told me that the lounge and dining room can also be classed as a Son was told his son could sleep in the bath (19 yrs old) they have 5 kids....2 girls in one bedroom....2 boys in another bedroom....and mom and dad in the third bedroom....the eldest son aged 19 sleeps on the sofa....he has no bedroom....good job my son is working and able to pay the full rent because they would be slapped with the bedroom tax as two of the kids are under 10 years old. My Grandson who can only get 20 hrs work a week at the Co-op on minimum wage has been told his family must move to a two bed house as the girl aged 7 and the boy aged 5 can share a bedroom...they have to pay the bedroom tax but can't!...he does not earn enough!....they have to go to court now and facing eviction for rent arrears...they have a 3 bed council house.

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  • Oh forgot to say...they have no 2 bed place to offer them....and in 3 years time they would need a 3 bed ludicrous! insane! cruel! dare they pick on the poor all the time!....just build more council housing!...OBVIOUS...but of course they haven't the money!...they squandered it all on quango's....their second homes....PAID FOR BY THE TAXPAYER...OUR MONEY....and gave it away to other countries and the city bankers and their own expenses!....OMG!!!!! we the people are sooooo angry.... believe!

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  • How long before this hated "Tax" is scrapped? Everything IDS touches turns to Cr@p!

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  • Rick Campbell

    @ Robert Redhead

    As has this ----

    Government faces tough options over universal credit

    Ministers divided over which of two plans to use to get scheme back on track – but both will cost taxpayer over £200m

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  • If the bedroom tax is causing such hardship and significant rent arrears and real concerns for social landlords and other financial pressures for local authorities god help ALL LANDLORDS when housing benefit transfers to UC and payments are paid directly to tenants. Some tenants won't be able to manage and some claimants will be tempted to use the "rent money" to pay for such luxuries as food or heating.

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  • Joe Halewood


    Subtle enough?

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