Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Social tenants to accept bedroom tax penalty

Nearly half of social tenants who will be affected by the government’s ‘bedroom tax’ are not prepared to move to smaller properties, research has found.

Ongoing work being carried out by Wirral Partnership Homes has found 45 per cent of its tenants who will be affected by the penalty for under-occupation will accept the reduction to benefit payments rather than moving home.

From April 2013 working age social tenants who are receiving housing benefit will see payments cut if they are deemed to be under-occupying.

WPH is in the process of contacting around 2,300 of its tenants who it thinks will be affected by the cut. So far it has spoken with 550, finding 104 are interested in moving, but 247 said they would rather accept the benefit reduction and stay put.

John Mycock, assistant director, housing, at WPH, said it is proving difficult to make some tenants aware of the potential problems.

‘Until it impacts I don’t think we are going to see the worst of it,’ he said. ‘Even if people can pay it the government is going to look hard at the other benefits that they are getting.’

However he added that even if people were prepared to move WPH would have trouble meeting their needs, due to a lack of available smaller homes.

‘We can’t see any way in which we can accommodate even a fraction of the people who are under-occupying,’ he said.

WPH chief executive Brian Simpson has written an article for Inside Housing explaining how the organisation is working with tenants to limit the impact of welfare reform.

Read Brian Simpson’s article in full

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