Help! – Advice for those affected by the Bedroom Tax

Advice for tenants affected by the Bedroom Tax

Updated June 2014

If you are affected by the bedroom tax we advise you to read this carefully and contact us if you have any questions:

handsoffourhomes@gmail.com

07504017322

General advice:

  • Don’t Panic. Keep calm and stay put! You should not have to move.
  • Don’t cut back on food, heating or other essential stuff – your health matters most 
  • You might be able to able to claim Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP), and we recommend you try, especially if you have a disability, child care responsibilities or another carer role. Call Leeds City Council on 0113 222 4404 or visit a One Stop Centre to make a claim. See our latest advice on DHPs here . 
  • Appeal!
    You can appeal against a bedroom tax (housing benefit) decision for MANY reasons. Go here for more info and an appeal form. Get in touch if you need any help or want to share your story.
     
  • Get in touch with us if you have any problems. 
  • Talk to your friends and neighbours, find out who is in the same position, share the advice on this page and support each other.

My housing provider is telling me I need to pay: what should I do?

Don’t Panic. If a housing officer or other official is telling you that you need to pay, you should do the following:

  • Tell them you can’t pay and why, explain what you would have to do without if you paid (food, heating, etc.)
  • Keep a note of what you and they said.
  • Keep a note of your income and what you spend money on. We don’t think you should have to justify how you spend your income – but it might come in handy later for any legal proceedings. Keep hold of bills and shopping receipts.
  • If you don’t mind moving apply for a mutual swap and/or downsize but don’t feel you need to take a property if you do not want it.
  • If you don’t want to move write to your landlord explaining why (links to family or community, close to school/doctors etc.), keep a copy of this letter.
  • Leeds City Council also have a Homelessness Prevention Fund which may be able to help you should ask at: Leeds Housing Options (Great George Street, 0113 222 4412).

If you feel a housing officer or representative of your landlord is being offensive, threatening or unreasonable you should write down what happened as soon as possible and contact us.

Am I going to lose my home?

You may have received letters, visits and phone calls saying that you are in rent arrears and you must pay or risk losing your home. These do not mean you are going to be evicted. It just means they are trying to make you pay.

We have worked with a large number of tenants in Leeds and can tell you that by following the advice set out here it is unlikely you will loose you your home. The important thing is that you follow this advice and get in touch so we can help.

To have a chance of evicting you from your home, your housing provider must give you a ‘Notice of Seeking Possession’ (see picture at bottom of the page). This is a long (6 page+) legal document. It is a formal document that informs you that your landlord are intending on taking you to Court for possession of their property.

This does not mean you will go to court. You should keep talking to your housing provider and noting down what you and they say. If you have received a ‘Notice of Seeking Possession’ you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Don’t worry if you think you can’t afford a lawyer, you can still get free help.

These are some lawyers we recommend:

  • Lester Morrill, 0113 245 8549, (ask for Rhiannon or Amandeep), 27 Park Square West
  • Switalskis, 0113 2231400, St James House, 28 Park Place
  • Henry Hyams, 0113 243 2288, 7 South Parade
  • Zermanskys, 0113 245 9766, 10 Butts Court

What happens if I am told I will have a court hearing?

If you have to go to court to defend your home, you will receive a big envelope from Leeds County Court with a possession claim and notice of a hearing (court appearance).

  • Keep talking to your housing provider explaining why you cannot pay your rent and keep a copy of any communications.
  • Contact a lawyer if you have not already. They can help you.
  • Go to the court hearing – don’t ignore it. If you are unable to find a solicitor by then there will be Duty Solicitors at Court. You should arrive at least 30 min before the hearing time to get to them so they can advise and represent you in court.
  • Get in touch with us – we want to help. We can arrange support in court for you, put pressure on your landlord and have a demo to support you.

Contact us:

Phone: 07504017322

Email: handsoffourhomes@gmail.com

facebook.com/HandsOffOurHomestwitter.com/HandsOffHomes

This is a Notice Seeking Possession - if you receive one of these contact us and one of the lawyers listed above

This is a Notice of Seeking Possession – if you receive one of these contact us and one of the lawyers listed above

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