Council figures show lack of choice for tenants faced with the Bedroom Tax

Leeds is going to be badly affected by the ‘bedroom tax’, partly this is because there are so few properties with only one or two rooms. Council documents seen by Hands Off Our Homes confirm this fact with some stark figures.

These documents also show the extent and proportion of ‘under-occupation’ within the different ALMOs, showing how many large properties are deemed ‘under-occupied.’ This highlights the large quantity of larger social rented dwellings and the lack of availability of smaller ones.

For Aire Valley Homes, for example:
1721 tenancies are affected by the bedroom tax.
1366 tenancies are ‘under-occupying’ by 1 bedroom. They will have a 14% cut in housing benefit
355 of these are ‘under-occupying’ by 2 bedrooms or more. They face a 25% cut in housing benefit.

In other words, 1 in 5 affected Aire Valley Homes tenancies are in properties significantly larger than the new policy says they need. There are similar figures for the 3 other ALMOs; in fact the total number of ALMO properties ‘under-occupied’ by 2 or more bedrooms is 1622 –  22% of the total affected tenancies.

Clearly they are there because that was the available properties, not because tenants were being greedy to get the largest property possible! We’ve been hearing the same story from tenants – that they were placed in a property that was larger than their basic needs because that was what was available, and the council said they would be secure there. Now they are being punished by the Government and Leeds City Council just because of the type of properties available in the city.

How can the council justify enacting this policy when their own figures show the structural reasons for ‘under-occupation’ of social rented properties?

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