Posts Tagged ‘Social Housing’

I have heard time and time again that people who live in Social Housing are the only ones to be affected by the Bedroom Tax and those of us that live in Private rented accommodation aren’t.
I want to lay that myth to rest.

Who is affected by ‘bedroom tax’ from April 2013?
‘Bedroom tax’ will affect council and housing association tenants of working age (below state pension age) who claim housing benefit to pay some or all of their rent.

Who is affected?
Tenants in the social rented sector (primarily Housing Associations and Council homes)

Working age tenants who may lose part of their housing benefit if they are considered to be “under occupying” their home.

She added: “It’s clear that social housing is experiencing some of its toughest times to date, and this survey has provided a valuable insight into the challenges organisations are facing.  CIH will be working hard to help all housing professionals meet those challenges head on.”
These are just three examples that state the impact the Bedroom Tax has had on those in Social Housing, there are thousands more but try and find articles on those in the Private Sector and they are few and far between.
I have been living in a Private Rent ever since I came home from Australia and during all that time I have had to pay extra towards my ‘spare room’. I highlight that as I only have a two bed roomed house out of necessity. I live alone and when I was looking for somewhere to live I couldn’t find one bedroom properties any where, or the ones I did find wouldn’t consider anyone who was not working. Because I had lived out of the country for two years I was not entitled to a council property so I also had no choice but to go private. I was not disabled at the time but even now as a disabled person I am finding it practically impossible to get onto a council housing list that will accept that I need somewhere that is adapted for my needs.

When I moved into my first property my rent was 420 pounds a month and my Housing Benefit was 90.90 pounds a week a total of 363.60, a shortfall of 56.40 I had to find every four weeks, not calendar month out of my benefits to top up my rent. This was before this so called BT was implemented. Take into account that at the time I was mostly on minimum benefits due to my ESA being sanctioned and you realise just how short of money that made me and how I struggled to cope paying the bills and managing to eat at the same time. Food was more often than not, beans on toast or a bowl f cornflakes as I rarely had enough money left over to do a bulk shop. As I said in my previous post I was fortunate to have an understanding Landlord which was just as well as when the Calendar and the four-weekly payments didn’t match up my rent was often late or a little short until the next pay day.

Move on to April 2013, I have since moved house, in the same area, just a couple of streets down actually but my old Landlord decided to have an affair and his now ex-wife demanded that she have their second property, the one I was happily living in, back for herself and their children. I was given four weeks to find myself somewhere else to live. Again I did the rounds, tried to find myself a one bedroom property that had enough room to swing a cat (sorry, I am actually an animal lover) and once more the only place available to me with the options of accepting someone on benefits and that was actually affordable was a relatively cheap two bedroom terrace house. It was my hope that I could use this as a stop-gap until I could find a one bedroom ground floor property that was hopefully adapted I could move into permanently. The rent for this new property was 425 pcm and when I first moved in I was getting the 90.90 I had been receiving before. In April I had a letter from the Council telling me that not only had my HB been reduced but now I am also liable to pay a percentage towards my Council Tax. My new allowance is now 88.85 pounds a week, not much difference you might think, and for some perhaps not, but add the Council Tax into that equation and it soon adds up. Now instead of paying an extra 56.40 every four weeks I am having to pay 74.98 out of my benefits before I even think of paying any utilities and then hoping I have enough left over to buy food. My living costs have also increased now that I am physically unwell, I can no longer use public transport and have to rely heavily on taxis so many of my Doctors and Hospital appointments get missed because I cannot afford the fares.

I know there are thousands more out there who are worse off than I am and it is not my intention here to ask for pity, just to point out the fact that even if you live in Private Accommodation if you are on benefits this diabolical tax will affect you. No one is safe or exempt because of the property they live in despite what you have read. Even if you do manage to find smaller accommodation in the Private Sector you can be sure that if you still have an extra room because you can find nothing smaller, you will still be penalised for it.