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Bedroom Tax Pushes 72000 Into Rent Arrears

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26148099

Housing benefit changes 'unworkable'

Two-thirds - 66% - of social sector tenants affected by benefit cuts for those with extra bedrooms were behind with rent after six months, a National Housing Federation survey suggests.

And it said 38% were in debt because of the "unfair, unworkable" policy change - dubbed the "bedroom tax" by critics.

Research firm Ipsos Mori surveyed 183 housing associations in England.

The government said it was "determined to support those who might need extra help through these necessary reforms".

'Heaping misery'

Since April last year, people deemed to have one spare bedroom have had their housing benefit reduced by 14%, while those with two or more spare bedrooms have seen reductions of 25%.

Critics said vulnerable and disabled people would be forced out of their homes.

But the government argued the measure would help control the billions spent on housing benefit and free larger properties for those who needed them the most.

The National Housing Federation (NHF), which represents housing associations said, the changes were "heaping misery and hardship on already struggling families, pushing them into arrears".

"Now many are at risk of being evicted because they simply can't find the extra money to pay their rent - these people have done nothing wrong," chief executive David Orr said.

He said the government had "suddenly changed the rules and given them a false choice - move to a smaller home or pay".

"Yet we know there aren't enough smaller homes in England for these families to move into."

'Extra money'

The NHF said the equivalent of 72,00 housing association tenants were in rent arrears because of the policy.

It said that, by October 2013, 15% of household affected by the cuts had received letters warning them they were in danger of being evicted.

And housing associations with affected tenants each spent an average of £73,250 before April 2013 on measures such as welfare and financial advice services to mitigate the effect of the changes.

This would rise to an extra £109,000 on average by March 2014, the NHF estimated.

And it said that, according to its own research conducted since December, demand for Discretionary Hosing Payments - described by the government as providing "extra money when your council decides that you need extra help to meet your housing costs" - had tripled.

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said: "We have tripled the extra funding given to councils this year to £190m - some of which is specifically targeted at disabled people - and have announced that £165m will be available for councils next year to help vulnerable tenants.

"There have been many scare stories about councils running out of funding when, in fact, only a quarter of local authorities across the country made a bid for the £20m funding available to top up their Discretionary Housing Payment allocation, and a majority of councils spent less than half of their extra funding in the first half of the financial year."

Cuts mistakes

Meanwhile, Labour has accused the government of understating the number of council tenants who have had their payment wrongly docked under the policy.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith previously told MPs that up to 5,000 claimants affected should still have been entitled to have housing benefit calculated according to longstanding rules, despite the new regulations.

People who have been claiming housing benefit for the same property since before 1996 are thought to fall into this bracket.

Labour said data for local councils showed that at least 16,000 households in the UK had wrongly had benefits cut, adding the true figure could be closer to 50,000.

The DWP said regulations were being amended and it stood by its earlier estimate of "around 5,000".

Edited by AvidFan

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What is unworkable are the ALMOS and HAs who are complaining.Due to their final salary pensions,huge sickness levels and cost structures (overpaid workers) they need to keep increasing rent by RPI+2% ongoing.As we all know wages are going up at best by CPI.

This is just another way for the above social housing providers to make it look like it is government policy why they are struggling.

Much easier to say we are owed £100k in rent because of the spare room allowance rather than because we have huge multi million pension liabilities and overpaid managers.

The social housing sector is ripe for collapse.The rent increases alone are sucking almost all tenants into HB.

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What is unworkable are the ALMOS and HAs who are complaining.Due to their final salary pensions,huge sickness levels and cost structures (overpaid workers) they need to keep increasing rent by RPI+2% ongoing.As we all know wages are going up at best by CPI.

This is just another way for the above social housing providers to make it look like it is government policy why they are struggling.

Much easier to say we are owed £100k in rent because of the spare room allowance rather than because we have huge multi million pension liabilities and overpaid managers.

The social housing sector is ripe for collapse.The rent increases alone are sucking almost all tenants into HB.

+1

Social housing as it is run in the UK is a con. Housing associations are now run in the interests of those at the top.

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+1

Social housing as it is run in the UK is a con. Housing associations are now run in the interests of those at the top.

They are.Our local one is now buying up ex council houses as they come on the market around £60k.Ones that were sold under Right to Buy for £12k.

They then strip out kitchens etc even if they are brand new and put in their own.The houses end up costing them £80k+

They do this because its easier than building new ones as their cost structures make it hugely expensive to build with all their red tape.

Our local one also won an award last year for best local employer.The award mentioned the great pension provision,flexi time scheme,sick pay scheme and lack of stress in the workplace.How nice.Im sure we could all provide that kind of employment if we could increase our prices by RPI+2% every year and the government paid most of it for us.

Tenants of course were all sold a lie when they left their local councils.It will help keep rents down they said :lol:

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+1

Social housing as it is run in the UK is a con. Housing associations are now run in the interests of those at the top.

Have to agree, they are little fiefdoms and a huge gravy train for the directors.

Out of interest how much court time would it take to pursue all of these rent arrears? Why try rapists/murderers when you can clog up the court system with rent arrears cases.

Although interesting that they provide no monetary figure about how much is actually owed.

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What is unworkable are the ALMOS and HAs who are complaining.Due to their final salary pensions,huge sickness levels and cost structures (overpaid workers) they need to keep increasing rent by RPI+2% ongoing.As we all know wages are going up at best by CPI.

This is just another way for the above social housing providers to make it look like it is government policy why they are struggling.

Much easier to say we are owed £100k in rent because of the spare room allowance rather than because we have huge multi million pension liabilities and overpaid managers.

The social housing sector is ripe for collapse.The rent increases alone are sucking almost all tenants into HB.

If the gap from social rents to general market rents has now approximately closed, it won't take long before a pretty stark gap opens up at RPI+x% rises in the social rents and (likely) continuing flatlining of private rents. Maybe these housing associations will start to feel the heat a little more as time goes by.

It's a novel way to tackle long waiting lists.

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They are.Our local one is now buying up ex council houses as they come on the market around £60k.Ones that were sold under Right to Buy for £12k.

They then strip out kitchens etc even if they are brand new and put in their own.The houses end up costing them £80k+

They do this because its easier than building new ones as their cost structures make it hugely expensive to build with all their red tape.

Our local one also won an award last year for best local employer.The award mentioned the great pension provision,flexi time scheme,sick pay scheme and lack of stress in the workplace.How nice.Im sure we could all provide that kind of employment if we could increase our prices by RPI+2% every year and the government paid most of it for us.

Tenants of course were all sold a lie when they left their local councils.It will help keep rents down they said :lol:

All new social housing here is handled by PFI contracts. It really is a ludicrous pyramid. Only legacy social housing stock is handled by the ALMO.

Pretty soon living in a one bed social flat on NMW the rent and CT will take up over half the wage. I think originally it was 25%.

I agree, very soon they will push everyone onto HB

Recently the ALMO renovating a notorious tower block. £90k per flat and throwing in flooring, hobs. washer dryers and WIFI. Back to backs and ex council start from £32-45k

Edited by aSecureTenant

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All new social housing here is handled by PFI contracts. It really is a ludicrous pyramid. Only legacy social housing stock is handled by the ALMO.

Pretty soon living in a one bed social flat on NMW the rent and CT will take up over half the wage. I think originally it was 25%.

I agree, very soon they will push everyone onto HB

Recently the ALMO renovating a notorious tower block. £90k per flat and throwing in flooring, hobs. washer dryers and WIFI. Back to backs and ex council start from £32-45k

Excellent news it means everyone is contributing more to GDP.

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To all suffering a 'bedroom tax'**... Go fly a kite!

There's millions of young folk struggling to even afford a privately rented shoebox!

** Except those who are genuinely disabled etc.. blah blah.

Yes, we need to get all the proles at each other's throats for a few scraps.

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I support people that don't pay the bedroom tax,it is the sensible way forward. They can then be evicted and moved to a house more suitable to their needs. If there aren't any houses that are smaller and suitable to their needs let them stay where they are. Disabled people with specially converted home could be left where they are.

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Most social housing the water rates are included in the rent so say £7.50 a week water rates £70 a week rent £77.50 total.

HB covered all the rent but not the water rates so everyone had to pay some "rent" (the water rates).

Everyone on HB i knew all called that £7.50 the rent,even though it wasnt,it was all the water rates.Mostly when councils said we have £200k rent arrears what they really mean is we have £20k rent arrears and £180k water bill arrears that tenants have not paid but we are liable for to the water company.

The reason the ALMOS and HA are so worried about the bedroom subsidy cut is because they need rent on average across their estate to rise by RPI+ every year to cover the pensions/salaries etc.Considering most ALMOs houses were paid for decades ago its incredible to think the rent simply covers wages and repairs and some free cash flow for buying the odd house.The waste and troughing is breathtaking.

As said above rent and council tax on most social houses now accounts for around half of full time NMW when it was always 25%.

It tends to hit people at the same time as the tax credits end for the children.

Hope you enjoyed those 16 years of plenty,enjoy the next 30 in complete poverty.

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I support people that don't pay the bedroom tax,it is the sensible way forward. They can then be evicted and moved to a house more suitable to their needs. If there aren't any houses that are smaller and suitable to their needs let them stay where they are. Disabled people with specially converted home could be left where they are.

The obvious problem with the whole thing was the lack of places for people to move to.

Asking people to move somewhere smaller but still adequate is OK. Trying to force them when such places don't exist is just wrong.

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The obvious problem with the whole thing was the lack of places for people to move to.

Asking people to move somewhere smaller but still adequate is OK. Trying to force them when such places don't exist is just wrong.

Nonsense! There are places people could be living.

In the private sector it's calledHMO.

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Nonsense! There are places people could be living.

In the private sector it's calledHMO.

So for a couple with two boys you would move them out of their three bed into a HMO?

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So for a couple with two boys you would move them out of their three bed into a HMO?

Or they could have a lodger.

It's something lots of working people have to do.

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Or they could have a lodger.

It's something lots of working people have to do.

I don't think you can sublet a HA or council property- unless the rules have changed recently.

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I don't think you can sublet a HA or council property- unless the rules have changed recently.

You can't sublet the whole property, but I don't think there's ever been an outright restriction on having a lodger. Normally you just need permission from the council - which they will approve as long as it doesn't lead to overcrowding.

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I don't think you can sublet a HA or council property- unless the rules have changed recently.

You can have a lodger but you can't sublet.

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I don't think you can sublet a HA or council property- unless the rules have changed recently.

You can have lodgers.

Many HA have put this as a suggestion to people affected by the BT.

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You can have lodgers.

Many HA have put this as a suggestion to people affected by the BT.

For many affected by the bedroom tax though, this isn't really an option.

The problem being that they live in an area of low housing demand.

Far from increasing access to property for people, the bedroom tax is driving people out of areas of low housing demand. Family housing ends up empty, it quickly falls into disrepair and then it is demolished.

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For many affected by the bedroom tax though, this isn't really an option.

The problem being that they live in an area of low housing demand.

Far from increasing access to property for people, the bedroom tax is driving people out of areas of low housing demand. Family housing ends up empty, it quickly falls into disrepair and then it is demolished.

Wo says the are areas of low demand housing?

Vested interests who ant to financially change an area by knocking down housing and building modern rubbish.

Vast areas of Manchester have been annihilated n this way.

Despite manchester vhaving be of the longest waiting lists for social housing.

If no ne n the social housing list wants the push then offer it to the wider rental community and see how quickly it gets snapped up.

There is an attitude amongst some who wnt a council house that they want one in chorlton evenif they have to wait 20 years.

Manchester is an hours travel away from half the country. The is o reason for any council property to be empty unless the housing companies want it so.

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