DHP not enough to remedy?

We’ve received an interesting First Tier Tribunal (so not binding) appeal decision from Wakefield, thanks to Kirklees Law Centre. A copy of the statement of reasons is here (not anonymised as the appellants consented to it being used largely unredacted).

Mr G was the tenant, occupying a two bedroom property with his wife, Mrs G. Mrs G has severe disabilities following a fracture to her back and the couple had been moved to the property, a bungalow, to which substantial adaptations had been carried out by the local authority landlord. Asa result of Mrs G’s disabilities, Mr G was not able to share the bedroom and there was no space … Read the full post

Help me make it through the night

We have the first (to the best of my knowledge) Upper Tribunal decision on a bedroom tax appeal, and therefore one binding on First Tier Tribunals. While it is not on one of the large scale issues, such as room size, it is nonetheless potentially important for a number of tenants and offers a view of the Upper Tribunal approach to the Regulations.

SD v Eastleigh Borough Council (HB) (Housing and council tax benefits : other) [2014] UKUT 325 (AAC)

The issue here was whether the appellant met the requirements for an additional bedroom for an overnight carer under Reg B13(6)(a).

The property is a three bed house. The appellant … Read the full post

Bedroom tax ‘lead case’ in Upper Tribunal?

Some bits on the bedroom tax and room size

First, a new FTT decision from Rochdale (Reasons here ). A room of 64 square feet was too small for a lodger and had not been used as a bedroom since the appellant’s son moved out in 2010. The room was instead used to store the appellant’s belongings, which she could not reasonably store in the loft due to her medical conditions. Also cites Bolton MBC v BF – the UT definition of a bedroom case – to find the room was not a bedroom because not used as such.

Secondly, (and thanks Joe) I have been sent a copy … Read the full post

Just bonkers, absolutely bonkers

Just what did Sandwell think they were doing?  They set a minimum residence requirement of two years (why two you might ask) for their local council tax reduction scheme and thought that would be acceptable.  They did so on the basis that they were concerned about those nasty southerners taking advantage of their cheaper housing, such that Sandwell would be flooded with people from outside.  They were concerned about the financial impacts if those outsiders were poor and required a council tax reduction.  The empirical basis for that assertion lay, one can only think, in the minds of those who attended the full council meeting on 4th December 2012.  Mind … Read the full post

‘We told you so’ corner

The DWP has very belatedly issued the interim review of the bedroom tax (under occupation penalty, removal of the spare room subsidy, whatever). The document can be found here, based on a survey for the period to April/Nov 2013.

And the results are… entirely predictable to everyone but the DWP.

Some headlines…

Social landlord rent arrears rose by 16% between April 2013 and November 2013. The report can’t quite bring itself to pin this on the bedroom tax, although noting that this was not a period of the year when arrears have traditionally risen, “it must be emphasised that the cause of this is uncertain and we cannot directly … Read the full post

Privacy, lifts and bedrooms

An interesting First Tier Tribunal decision from Sunderland (Statement of Reasons).

The claimants/appellants were joint tenants of what had been a three bedroom property. One of the joint tenants suffers from severe and degenerating muscular dystrophy, and had been reliant on a wheelchair for the last 14 years. In about 2006, the property had been adapted in view of the tenant’s disability. Two bedrooms were knocked into one large one and the existing stair lift was replaced by a vertical lift from the living room into what had been the third bedroom.

Despite this, the property was assessed by the council as having two bedrooms (originally they found … Read the full post

Domestic violence and the bedroom tax

A judicial review of the bedroom tax has been given permission, where the claimant is a victim of domestic violence who has received support to remain in her home through a ‘sanctuary scheme’.

The woman, a victim of rape, assault, harassment and stalking by an ex-partner, lives in a three bed property with her 11 year old son and has had a 14% reduction in HB applied. The property had been previously adapted under the ‘sanctuary scheme’, with a ‘panic space’ installed in her home, and a specialist ‘sanctuary system’ installed.  This includes expensive reinforced doors, electric alarms, a marker on the house and alarms linked to the police station.… Read the full post

Bedrooms: Living, moving and relaxing

A couple of new bedroom tax FTT decisions (also on the FTT decisions page)

The first, from Liverpool [reasons here], is a fairly standard room size decision on a room measuring 44 square feet. However the room had a bunk bed in it, used by the tenant’s grandchildren occasionally when they stayed.

However, the Tribunal’s reason for deciding that the room was not a bedroom for the purposes of the regulations, strikes me as one of the best, and least assailable set of reasons yet given.

The Tribunal was aware of the stipulations of the Housing Acts [1098 and 2004], as well as the Housing Health and Safety

Read the full post