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Will YOU have to pay the bedroom tax from April?

Have you had your conversation yet with your housing officer?

Bedroom TaxThe cut in Housing Benefit for those affected by the 'bedroom tax' is just weeks away. Starting in April, tenants below state pension age and “under-occupying" their home will have to pay some of their rent themselves direct to Hexagon as it won’t be covered by Housing Benefit.

Advice available – one to one conversations

Having conversationOur housing officers want to help with advice on your options so you need to make sure you have your conversation with your housing officer on the telephone or face to face about how you are going to manage. We want to speak to every tenant affected and the sooner the conversation takes place, the better chance that we may be able to help.

• For example, if you want to downsize, the sooner you let us know, the better your chances of getting a move before you have to start finding the money for the shortfall in the rent.

• Alternatively, if you don’t want to move but need help getting back into work so you don’t need to claim benefit, we may be able to help.

So contact your housing officer now for your conversation.

We also have a leaflet available which explains the changes in more details. 

The Government’s rules about bedroom entitlement

Reminder: under the benefit rules which will apply, each single person or couple is entitled to their own bedroom except:
• Children under 16 of the same gender are expected to share a bedroom
• Children under 10 regardless of gender are expected to share a bedroom
• A disabled tenant or partner who needs an overnight carer will be allowed an extra bedroom

Example 1: Mr. and Mrs. T live in a 3 bedroom flat with their two sons aged nearly 15 and 12. Their rent is £125 a week and they are currently on housing benefit. The benefit rules mean that they are officially “under-occupying” by 1 bedroom and will have to pay 14% or £17.50 of their rent themselves from the rest of their benefits.

Large house to smaller houseExample 2: Ms S aged 58 lives with her youngest child who is 19 years old in the 4 bedroom house where she brought up the rest of the family who have now left home. Her rent is £132 a week, but from April she will have to pay £33 of the rent or 25% herself as the family is “under-occupying” by two bedrooms. As she is also going to have to start to pay part of the council tax starting in April, Ms S is now looking to down-size.

Getting ready to pay

Pound coinsMany residents are telling us that they intend to make up the difference themselves when the changes come in. Make sure you know how it is going to affect you and you have worked out how you are going to manage with the money you have coming in. We will be contacting those tenants affected soon to set up arrangements to pay the part of the rent HB will no longer be paying.
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