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Birkenhead MP calls on housing associations for ‘bedroom tax’ response

Following the introduction of the government’s controversial ‘bedroom tax’, reports have suggested that housing associations across the country are feeling the burden as residents struggle to both appreciate how the new regulations affect them, and also to budget accordingly.

Frank Field, Birkenhead MP, is encouraging social landlords and housing associations in the Wirral to “defy” the bedroom tax and “put tenants first”. This is following plans that have been announced by one association in particular, which intends to bypass the bedroom tax by refurbishing spare bedrooms and creating bathrooms instead. The associations of course have their own benefits to gain from this arrangement, with the risk of tenants running into arrears at an increase if they suffer a decrease in their housing benefit.

The scheme is in its earliest stages yet, with no official consultation being held with the residents. However, the idea is to move bathroom units that were originally fitted outside, into the house. Simply having non slip flooring in Wirral bedrooms and calling them bathrooms may not make it past the consultation stage.

Under the rules of the bedroom tax, if a tenant believes they have been wrongly categorised, or if they feel that a bedroom has been incorrectly defined, they can put in a request for a reassessment or to give the impetus to the landlord to reassess the tenancy agreement. This way, a resident’s agreement will concur with the actual number of bedrooms and thus avoid the potential 14% fall in their housing benefit should they be deemed to have spare bedrooms.

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