Bedroom tax is a lesser spotted dodo
From a Facebook anti-bedroom tax page and posted today Friday 7 February about 12 noon I have cut and pasted the wording which has not changed in any way and I await the decision notice which the tenant has kindly offered to forward to me. I will wait until I have seen the judgment before I comment fully yet this really does deserve to be read for so many reasons that are self-evident. This decision on this reading looks extremely significant indeed as it will be the first FTT which has considered the Bolton Upper Tribunal case to my knowledge.
- 1. Great news peeps – My First Tier tribunal appeal was heard on Tuesday and I have just received the decision this morning. You may recall my 4 bed house had three rooms undersized two of which were used as a study and art room.
- 2. I have been charged rent for 13 years for a 4 bed.
- 3. I subsequently had a HHSRS survey carried out to Housing Act 2004 and further contacted the VOA for the property details, who clarified that the house had only ever been listed as a 3 bed for council tax purposes.
- 4. To cut a long story short the judge ruled that the house can only be considered as a 2 bed and the rooms were too small to rent even to let out to a lodger.
- 5. The judge was not aware the recent Bolton Upper Tribunal case for the definition of bedroom and accordingly consulted this case before making his decision, which is, that I am now exempt the bedroom tax from its implementation.
- 6. All I can say is, I wish to express my sincere thanks to the advice posted here by Joe Halewood. It has been absolutely invaluable because without it, 6 months ago I didn’t know where to start. To those still appealing, the hardship is totally unnecessary, but have faith and keep on appealing. It’s worth it
About 4 weeks ago I argued that room usage will be so much more important to bedroom tax challenges and appeals this year than the room size issue. Then a few weeks after this the Bolton Upper Tribunal case was announced defining ‘bedroom’ to be a room used as or furnished as a sleeping accommodation. A study and an art room are not bedrooms irrespective of size as this judgment shows and the proverbial has well and truly hit the fan for the bedroom tax.
Of course the room size issue remains and has not gone away but room usage and the Bolton UT judgment has led to three local councils yesterday stating verbally that they accept it means they will have to go out and inspect every bedroom tax property…and also that they know they cannot do this due to cost and other resources.
My local council, Liverpool, easily explains the dilemma local councils are in. It has 10,750 bedroom tax households and if one person could inspect 10 properties a day (and they couldnt) then this is 50 per week. So it would take 1 person 215 weeks to inspect. That is the same as 4 full time staff for a whole year or 16 full time for 3 months inspecting 10 properties each per day. That will never happen and even then there is the extra admin that goes with such figures….which all mean it would cost the council and local taxpayer an absolute fortune. An absolute fortune which takes millions out of the local economy just so IDS can get his claimed ‘saving.’
Because Bolton UT case says bedroom is a room used and/or furnished as a bedroom then how the hell can councils who are the sole decision makers for the bedroom tax KNOW that a tenants room is used as or furnished as a bedroom without inspecting? They cant. Yet as I argue above they also cant go out and inspect due to time and cost.
So what is going to happen to the bedroom tax?
Local councils are unable to make a bedroom tax decision that can be relied upon legally. They can only make, after Bolton, even more of a sham decision than all the original 2013/14 decisions. If they do make bedroom tax decisions for the coming financial year from April then ALL of those decisions, yes every single one of them, needs to and has to be appealed.
NO bedroom tax decision can be legally reliable UNLESS the council has inspected.
The bedroom tax reader and IDS and Lord Freud and McVey as a policy now has a new image which I will let you use freely.