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Thread: Bedroom tax and single pensioners?

  1. #21
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    I know it's called 'Choice based letting' and there will be a generic housing list that people must join in order to bid for either council or RSL homes.

    The chances of anyone getting social housing are very slim due to the housing shortage. In fact the only way you go to top of the list is when your homeless, in hospital and they want to discharge you because you're a bed blocker and cost s a day.

    If you're already a secure tenant in a specially adapted home they won't kick you out unless you voluntarily want to leave. If two people share say a two bed accessible flat and they have a joint tenancy, if one dies then the remaining tenant still has the right to remain in the property.

    If you disagree then quote the part in your tenancy agreement that says different.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Stepheninleeds's Avatar
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    I understand what everyone is saying, & also agree in theory, but we know it does not work like that, even with the law on side. we cannot use the laws now to fight for our disabled or housing rights as we cannot get Legal Aid for this anymore.

    Councils & Housing Associations can use their policies to define alternatives to their policies & law because they do that now with many tenants. One way is this spare room issue. For a lot of us having to pay 11 a week because we have a spare room will cost us more than we can afford. We get behind on the rent, we lose the home. The problem with that is we are then out of the street. So, what they will do is try to convince us to move so this does not happen. Make it appear they are offering us a safe alternative, which in once sense they will be. However, if the new place is not suitable or we cannot find any new home, then what happens?
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stepheninleeds View Post
    even with the law on side. we cannot use the laws now to fight for our disabled or housing rights as we cannot get Legal Aid for this anymore.
    IF you attended a court hearing for eviction and had no legal representation, the judge would either adjourn until you had such representation (normally Shelter) or at the very least would read your tenancy agreement to make sure the landlord was applying the law correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stepheninleeds View Post
    Councils & Housing Associations can use their policies to define alternatives to their policies & law because they do that now with many tenants.
    But they cannot alter your tenancy agreement which is a binding document in law.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stepheninleeds View Post
    One way is this spare room issue. For a lot of us having to pay 11 a week because we have a spare room will cost us more than we can afford. We get behind on the rent, we lose the home.
    This is what I said earlier on. The government has changed benefit law, not your tenancy agreement. For those working and paying full rent, nothing will have changed. But for those on HB the majority will suffer. The propsed increase is 14% of housing benefit a week for those with one extra room, and those with two or more extra rooms would lose 25% (source BBC : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17111766 ).

    However, work the numbers out and you will see that all this is going to achieve is a major reshuffle of housing. Its going to be a nightmare to administer and I would be prepared to bet that changes will be made along the way. Remember the game where you have to move all the squares around in a grid with only one empty space to form a pattern. Well, this will be the housing version. The HA's will need empty housing stock to start the process and even then it will grid lock to the point where the courts will be filling up with eviction case's. Its going to be untenable.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    Ah right - the penny has sunk. So because there's a mis-match between houses and occupants they are now imposing fines by raising the rent on rooms not in use. So before they use to pay people to downsize now the latest trend is to up the rent so you volunteer to downsize.

    In general it will work as there will be apartment blocks for single people with age restrictions attached. Older people on HB will feel the pinch and volunteer to move to cheaper homes which frees up three bed homes for families.

    One thing they won't do is make physically disabled people move because there will be a charge involved in making a new home accessible.

    I'll bet you my last bottom dollar that no 'physically disabled' social housing tenant will be asked to move and they won't be charged extra for any additional room.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    Ah right - the penny has sunk. So because there's a mis-match between houses and occupants they are now imposing fines by raising the rent on rooms not in use. So before they use to pay people to downsize now the latest trend is to up the rent so you volunteer to downsize.
    In essence that will be the situation for those on housing benefit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    In general it will work as there will be apartment blocks for single people with age restrictions attached. Older people on HB will feel the pinch and volunteer to move to cheaper homes which frees up three bed homes for families.
    Ahh, but in general older people don't want to downsize, because its not just a house they're leaving but a home. There are virtually no single bedroom 'apartment blocks' in any social housing stock throughout the UK. The LA's have relied on bedsits (shared houses) from private landlords to fill that void. Hence the empty space in the game to kick start the process.

    Most social housing stock is 2 or 3 bedroom of which the vast majority is occupied. To move those from 3 bedroom into 2 bedroom and visa-versa (apply that to 4 bedroom property's as well ) and you have a logistical nightmare. What about DWP payments for moving ? then add in LA hardship payments and that 300 million pound saving ( which is pitiful in the grand scheme) will be wiped out in an instance.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    I'll bet you my last bottom dollar that no 'physically disabled' social housing tenant will be asked to move and they won't be charged extra for any additional room.
    I suggest the opposite. I predict disabled people will be charged the bedroom tax and that will start the protests and possibly make the government of the day (Labour if they get in power will stick with the status quo) make concessions.



    Consider this. You have three teenage children and are offered a 4 bedroom HA property. Would you take it ? You move in on 1st Jan and by June one of the teenagers has left home. Now you're under occupied and have to move again. Would you look after the property in that 6 month period knowing you will have to move again or pay money you don't have. People look after homes not houses. I predict a social underclass living in slums because they feel alienated in investing pride and effort in the house they've been allocated.
    Last edited by Jen66; 02-27-2012 at 09:17 AM.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    MPs overturn Lords defeat on 'bedroom tax - 21 Feb

    The Council is paying expensive temporary accommodation costs. There's about 1 million spare rooms being funded by housing benefit. They don't want to pay for people on housing benefit to have spare rooms.

    New under occupancy rule only applies to working age housing benefit claimants. To be of working age they have to be under the qualifying age of pension credit that will be 61.5 years in April 2013.

    For people who can't work and are stuck in properties that are too big then local authorities will give 'discretionary housing payments' to cover the extra cost in certain circumstances eg like for disabled people!

    In fact they say if a disabled person has a two bedroom flat and the second room is reserved for a carer then providing the disabled person is in receipt of DLA or eventually PIP they will be exempt from paying extra or having to move to a smaller home.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    They don't want to pay for people on housing benefit to have spare rooms.
    Equally, they don't want to pay a fortune for moving people out their homes (not houses) every couple of years (social grants for moving etc).

    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    New under occupancy rule only applies to working age housing benefit claimants. To be of working age they have to be under the qualifying age of pension credit that will be 61.5 years in April 2013.
    According to government figures, that will be around 90% of all social households (The Poverty Site).

    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    For people who can't work and are stuck in properties that are too big then local authorities will give 'discretionary housing payments' to cover the extra cost in certain circumstances eg like for disabled people!
    Discretionary payments are subject to funds. Several LA's have already suggested there wont be enough in the funds to cover even 10% of tenancy's occupied by disabled people. Not unless council tax is raised in which case, we are back to square one again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    In fact they say if a disabled person has a two bedroom flat and the second room is reserved for a carer then providing the disabled person is in receipt of DLA or eventually PIP they will be exempt from paying extra or having to move to a smaller home.
    It's been suggested the disabled tenant will have to provide evidence of a sleep in carer and that carer will have to make themselfs known to the LA and be subject to checks.


    In summary I return to the scenario I made earlier about the family with teenage children. This time, let us say the father of that family is disabled. Will they have to downsize every time one of their teenagers leaves home. Surely, no one is going to make a family move every six months. There has to be some safeguards put in place to prevent such situations.
    Last edited by Jen66; 02-27-2012 at 12:52 PM.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Stepheninleeds's Avatar
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    We shall have to wait & see. At the end of the day all the reassurances we get from politicians I find hard to believe. I do not have faith in the laws or the policies to prevent forced moves. I can see the serious issues of under occupied homes being a concern when so many are short of homes. Yet there is an issue that is not being tackled, two in a sense. One is the fact that many homeless are being put up in hotels, B&Bs, private housing as huge costs that have to be met, these costs run into millions for some Councils. Then there is the the assylum seekers, where thousands are also in usually private housing & Councils meeting these costs, which can be 2-3, even more times the normal rents for such a property. In part because some landlords cramp them in. These issues need to be tackled.
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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stepheninleeds View Post
    We shall have to wait & see.
    I agree. Until it happens, no one can really second guess the outcome. Housing is a complicated and very emotive subject. We all want housing.

    There are two opposing moral issues. Why should someone give up there home 'vs' those that require housing. So you're on the housing waiting list keeping a watchful eye on that nice four bedroom house occupied by a family with two children (therefore under-occupied). The house has beautiful maintained gardens and is well looked after - in other words its been turned from a house into a home.

    The current occupants of the home are on benefits and can no longer afford the bedroom tax. They succumb to eviction and are re-housed in a run down area full of vice and drug dealing. Those watching the future of this house unfold are suddenly told they have the keys, but one of their children will be leaving home in the next year. Do they accept the home, move in and risk eviction because they will fall under the bedroom tax in the coming year ?

    Meanwhile, the sanctimonious politicians and those critical of a housing shortage (but secure in their own property) are safe from such up-evil. This moral issue wont come to the forefront until its happened.

    Here is a classic tale of ignorance unfolding in front of my very eyes :

    A new mainly private executive estate was built in my area 5 years ago. In one road it contains 15 Five Bedroom town houses selling at 750k. Backing on to those houses are 5 four bedroom social houses. All the occupants were vetted and you wouldn't even know they were social housing. Everyone lives in harmony. Recently one of the private residents was voicing his opinion that this bedroom tax was justified and good. Until that is, he realised the house behind him was going to lose its well behaved, quiet and pleasant occupants to a family of 7 children known to the Police. Although the family are moving due to other reasons , it highlights what can and will happen. I've never seen a person move political position so fast in my life. Now he thinks the bedroom tax stinks because he is scared it will happen to the other social houses in 2013. But, as Dave says. We're all in it together.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Stepheninleeds's Avatar
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    Fear is always a great motivator & often betrays principles. Fear of course is fueling this whole issues of housing. I know I will not be forced from what is a relatively safe area & nice, back to a bad area & bad house. Form an area that has reasonable facilities, including good taxi firms, to one that had few facilities & bad taxi firms.
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