Temporary Bedroom tax reprieve for those in same property since 1996

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Temporary Bedroom tax reprieve for those in same property since 1996

Tenants continuously claiming housing benefit from the same address since at least 1 January 1996 should have the cut in their housing benefit removed until legislation is amended, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

21/01/2014

In an ‘urgent bulletin’ issued on 8 January the DWP said councils should refund deductions from Housing Benefit made since April 2013 due to the under occupancy penalty/bedroom tax. This is because the ‘eligible rent’ referred to in bedroom tax regulations do not apply prior to 1 January 1996, when a previous set of rules existed. The DWP’s bulletin is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/270200/hb-bulletin-u1-2014.pdf

However, the housing benefit regulations are to be amended in March 2014, according to the information provided Lord Freud in the House of Lords, ‘to ensure that all working-age social sector tenants who underoccupy their homes are subject to a reduction in their eligible rent, regardless of the length of their tenancy, unless they fall within one of the limited exceptions’.

The loophole was discovered by housing benefit specialist, Peter Barker, after hearing that a tribunal judge had asked whether a tenant had been claiming since 1996.

If you are interested in applying for a refund of the bedroom we suggest you contact your Local Authority’s housing department, Proof that you have been resident in your home since 1 January 1996 and have claimed housing benefit for this period will be needed.  If you claim is queried refer the Local Authority to the DWP bulletin above.

Campaign against the Bedroom Tax

There is a steering group meeting for campaigns and groups affiliated to the National Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation this Saturday in Birmingham – Paragon Hotel, 145 Alcester Road. If anyone wants more information contact Ellen.Clifford@inclusionlondon.co.uk

Sources for this article include:http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/regulation