40,000 tenants to lose housing benefit entitlement.

40,000 tenants to lose housing benefit entitlement.

In an updated impact assessment regarding welfare reform (Universal Credit) the government has doubled its estimate of the number of claimants who will lose any entitlement to housing benefit; as a direct result of its under-occupation penalty AKA ‘bedroom tax’.

The Government intends to use powers contained in the Welfare Reform Act 2012 to provide that, from April 2013, working-age social tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit will experience a reduction in their benefit entitlement if they live in housing that is deemed to be too large for their needs. The main exception to this will be households who are not of working-age.

The penalty is based on a percentage of the total rent on a property, rather than the amount of housing benefit received.

The updated impact assessment, published by the Department for Work and Pensions last Thursday, shows that 40,000 people are expected to lose their housing benefit completely due to reductions in their payments.

Previous estimates published in February 2011 claimed that the figure would stand at 20,000.

The DWP claim that the drastic change in the number of people affected is due to ‘updated modelling’.

Housing benefit rules allow:

  • One bedroom for each adult or couple as part of the household.  This means a couple is expected to need one bedroom and two adults who are not a couple to need two bedrooms.
  • A child under the age of 16 is expected to share with another child of the same gender, while children under 10 are expected to share with another child regardless of gender.
  • A bedroom for a non-resident carer is allowed where they provide care to a person with a disability.
  • If you have extra bedrooms to accommodate children you have access rights to, you will not receive housing benefit to cover the extra bedroom(s) in your home.

Examples of families who will be affected by these changes:

  • A single person or a couple living in a 2, 3 or 4 bedroom house.
  • A single person or a couple with one child, living in a 3 or 4 bedroom house.
  • A single person or a couple with two children of the same sex under the age of 16, living in a 3 or 4 bedroom house.
  • A single person or couple with 2 children under 10 of different sexes living in a 3 or 4 bedroom house.
  • A couple who have weekend access to a child in a 2 bedroom house.
  • A couple with one person aged 59 and the other person aged 63.

Never heard of ‘Universal Credit’ before?
Then please click here to prepare for the abolishment of the landlord’s right to insist on direct payments, if a tenant is in arrears.

Landlords and tenants; we would love to hear any views that you may have on the ‘bedroom-tax’, below!

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Author: Tenant Referencing

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