Bedroom tax leaves 1,500 properties empty
Government figures have shown that nearly 1,500 properties with 2 or more bedrooms have been left vacant because tenants cannot afford to move into them.
There has also been a dramatic increase in rent arrears because tenants cannot afford to pay the extra expected of them due to the bedroom tax but cannot downsize due to a shortage of one-bedroom homes. Rent arrears have increased by a total of £24m over the past year.
Emma Reynolds, shadow housing minister, said: “Since the bedroom tax was introduced, rent arrears have soared.
“But it’s also increasing the number of homes left empty because tenants can’t afford this unfair charge.”
The amount of empty homes are particularly shocking as 1.7m people are currently stuck on council house waiting lists in England.
New government figures show the number of empty properties increased from 25,462 in 2012-13 to 26,958 in 2013-14 when the tax was introduced. As a result lost rental income went up from £107m to £127m.
Many local councils are seeing the strain of the bedroom tax.
Wythenshawe Community Housing Group chief executive Nigel Wilson said: “The awful consequences of the bedroom tax are hurting our tenants on a daily basis.”
Alan Rogers of Cobalt Housing said: “We have perfectly good three-bedroom homes that people tell us they can’t afford to live in because of the bedroom tax.”
Ms Reynolds added: “The bedroom tax is cruel, unfair and ineffective which is why a Labour government will scrap it.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “There’s no evidence of a link between empty council homes and removing the spare room subsidy.”
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Have Private Landlords Reacted to the Bedroom Tax?: here