Bedroom tax forces up rental arrears in social sector

Bedroom tax forces up rental arrears in social sector

Bedroom tax is not – thankfully – a problem for the private rented sector, which has issues enough of its own.

However, in the social rented sector it is proving a huge problem.

Westminster Council says that tenants subject to bedroom tax now owe £44,023 in rent arrears – up 18% since the end of March.

The arrears are rising because so far the council has only managed to rehouse 31 ‘over-occupying’ tenants.

A further 439 tenants have lost £18 a week if they have one bedroom ‘too many’, or £34 a week if they have two bedrooms judged surplus to requirements.

Of those 439, there are 369 households in a two-bed flat who would need to downsize to a one-bedroom flat but cannot do so because of the shortage of supply.

?Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour group at the council, said: “Rent arrears are piling up month after month, the council is losing money, tenants are getting into financial difficulty and very few people are moving to smaller or larger homes. It is a complete shambles.”

Meanwhile, on Merseyside, some housing association staff have been told not wear their uniforms or badges outside work.

First Ark has issued the warning to 80 office-based employees, and says this was a precautionary measure taken on advice from local police.

Bedroom tax was originally due to drive displaced social tenants into the private sector – but we have heard little to nothing as to whether that has actually happened. Perhaps some of our readers may be able to provide an insight.?