Saturday, 23 May 2015

Three quarters of bedroom tax tenants won’t move

Three quarters of tenants who will be affected by the bedroom tax would refuse to move even if smaller properties were available, research conducted by one landlord has suggested.

Staffordshire-based housing association Aspire has found 379 of the 560 tenants it has spoken to who will be affected by the under-occupation penalty are prepared to cope with a reduction in housing benefit rather than move home.

Around 880 of the 9,000 properties owned or managed by Aspire will be affected by the penalty. The landlord is in the process of contacting the remaining people who will be affected, and said initial results suggest around 75 per cent are once again saying they won’t move.

Of the Aspire tenants who do not intend to simply put up with the penalty, 127 said they wanted to downsize, 73 asked for help finding work, and six said they were thinking about taking in a lodger.

Aspire has around 1,000 one-bedroom properties, and has already rehoused 40 people who would have been hit by the penalty. It is giving people who will be hit by the charge additional priority for rehousing, to increase their chances of being able to move.

Paul Malkin, income manager at Aspire, said most tenants who will be affected are now aware of the impending cut, which comes in from 1 April.

‘About 95 per cent of the people who will be affected we have spoken to,’ he said. ‘We are hoping all the work that we’ve put in will help us out when it starts, and we will see much less of an increase in arrears.’

Under the bedroom tax, working age social tenants who are on housing benefit will have their payments cut if they are deemed to have one or more spare bedrooms. One spare bedroom will result in a 14 per cent cut, with a 25 per cut for two spare rooms.

Similar research conducted by other housing associations has also found a high proportion of social tenants are prepared to put up with financial hardship rather than move house. Wirral Partnership Homes found 45 per cent of its tenants would rather accept the penalty than move.

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