UPDATED: Two appeals you can try – all affected tenants please read

There are now TWO big ways to challenge a bedroom tax decision:

1) If you’ve been in housing benefit and the same property since 1996
2) If you’ve been using your ‘spare’ bedroom(s) for other purposes

Please make sure you read through both of these. Template letters to appeal are at the bottom of the page. If you want a printed version, need any help, or want to share your story get in touch: handsoffourhomes@gmail.com, 07504017322).

1. The 1996 ‘loophole’

– Have you been living at your present address since 1st January 1996 or before?
– Have you been claiming Housing Benefit continuously from this address throughout that time?
Or have you claimed Housing Benefit continuously from an address where you inherited the tenancy from a parent or partner who had themselves claimed continuously from 1st January 1996 until their death?

If so, you may be eligible for a refund of any bedroom tax (extra rent due to having ‘spare’ bedrooms you have paid since April 2013.

This applies even if you have been awarded a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) – you will not have to pay back any DHP already paid to you.

It may also apply to people who have had breaks in their tenancy if it was due to circumstances beyond their control, eg, compulsory rehousing because of building works, being forced to move to escape domestic violence.

You are also allowed one break in your claim of up to 4 weeks, or a break due to being on a welfare-to-work scheme.

If this applies to you, please use letter 1 below.

2) The ‘bedroom use’ case

A recent court case has suggested that it’s basically impossible to define a bedroom! If you’ve been using it as a study, storage space, music room, studio, whatever – you can try and make a case that it’s not a bedroom.

More details are here – http://speye.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/the-bedroom-tax-is-dead-heres-why/

But the important thing is – try this appeal – see if it works! You haven’t got anything to lose.

If you think this might apply to you, fill out letter 2 below.

———-————————-

1. 1996 Letter

Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Postcode:
Telephone:
Date:
National Insurance number:
Housing Benefit Claim Number:
Leeds City Council

Bedroom tax

I ask you to reconsider my bedroom tax decision in your HB decision notice dated

___/___/_____    in accordance with housing benefit regulations and with regard to statutory instrument 217 of 2006 in terms of my protected “eligible rent” in the Consequential Provisions Regulations 2006.
1.                  I have been in continuous receipt of Housing Benefit since at least the 1st January 1996      AND
2.                  
I have lived at my current address for all of that time   OR
3.                  
I inherited the tenancy from a parent/partner who had claimed HB continuously from that address since at least 1st January 1996, and I have claimed HB continuously from that address since then      OR
4.                  
I moved to my current address due to being forced to move, eg *decanted due to regeneration/demolition, *domestic violence, *anti-social behaviour,  *my previous property was unfit, (* = delete as appropriate)

 Yours faithfully,

——————————————————–

2. ROOM USE LETTER 

Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Postcode:
Telephone:
Date:
National Insurance number:
Housing Benefit Claim Number:
Council name:

Bedroom tax

I ask you to reconsider my bedroom tax decision in your HB decision notice dated

____/____/_____    in accordance with housing benefit regulations and in light of the Upper Tribunal case in Bolton referenced CH0140/2013, which determined a bedroom for Housing Benefit purposes at paragraph 19.

Please also provide a copy of the council’s written policy that includes a definition of a bedroom.

  1. Failing that a copy of the councils informal or working definition of what is a bedroom for under occupation / bedroom tax purposes.
  2. A copy of the council’s written policy which states how it makes a bedroom tax decision in accordance with HB regulations and UT binding decisions.

The UT definition states ‘bedroom’ is a room that is used or furnished as a bedroom.

  1. Please advise how you know a room or rooms in my property is/are used as or furnished as a bedroom or bedrooms?

My property has   __    rooms in total and a breakdown of their uses is as below:

Living Rooms         ___              Dining Rooms  ___       Kitchens  ___                    Studies  ___

Bathrooms  ___          Bedrooms        ___              Storerooms   ___         Other (specify)  ___

 Other relevant information:

Yours faithfully,

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