Westminster Council's bedroom tax promotes rent arrears
By londononline | Wednesday, August 21, 2013, 17:54
Westminster City Council has released figures which show that the rent arrears of households affected by the "bedroom tax" has increased 16% in a month. Tenants now owe £44,023 in rent arrears. The tax has been applied since March. Westminster Council managed to rehouse 31 tenants into smaller flats but 474 tenants deemed to be under-occupying social housing have had their Housing Benefit reduced. The majority of tenants affected by the government's under-occupancy restrictions have seen an £18 per week reduction in housing benefit, and 79 with two spare bedrooms or more have had a reduction of £34 per week. Rent arrears increased from £103,500 at the end of March to £119,692 at the end of April. Westminster Council housing manager, CityWest Homes, is trying to rehouse tenants and there are cash incentives for mutual exchanges between tenants who require larger or smaller properties. More than 1,000 households are in overcrowded accommodation yet the "bedroom tax" appears to have made little difference.
According to figures from City West Homes there are only 16 one bed flats to let when 259 "bedroom tax" tenants are waiting for one, and 769 households are on the council waiting list for a one bed flat.
It is apparent that the solution to the shortage of suitable housing in Westmnster is more social housing.