Cuts inevitable for under-occupying tenants
Tenants affected by housing benefit cuts for under-occupation will have little choice but to survive with less money, according to research conducted by one social landlord.
Bradford housing association Incommunities has found it would take three years for it to rehouse the 2,702 tenants who will require one bedroom properties as a result of the cuts, which are due to come into force from April 2013.
Writing for Inside Housing, Geraldine Howley, chief executive of Incommunities, also says moving costs could mean households do not save money even if they do downsize.
Under the proposed size criteria children aged nine or under must share with one other child, children aged 10 to 15 should share if they are the same gender, and those aged 16 and up get their own room.
This means families could potentially have to be rehoused as their children grow up.
‘Our biggest concern remains the families who have younger children of different genders sharing a bedroom,’ Ms Howley writes.
‘Current rules suggest they will have to move to smaller accommodation then move again. Our research shows it will cost them approximately £1,000 for each time they move – more than the annual cost they would contribute if they stayed and lost benefit.’
Ms Howley’s article kicks off our Focus section this week, which is looking at the impact of the under-occupation penalty, and how landlords could respond. Visit the page for more, or join in the discussion on the forum or on Twitter using the #underoccupy hashtag.