How To Beat The Bedroom Tax

29 May 2015

How to avoid bedroom tax

You're bound to have heard of the Bedroom Tax, but have you heard this story about the dad who successfully challenged it?

Bedroom Tax is also known as under occupancy charge or the Spare Room Subsidy, and it's basically a change to Housing Benefit Entitlement which means you'll receive less money if you live in a housing association property or council house that has one or more spare bedrooms. But if you can prove that those bedrooms are periodically in use and thus not technically 'spare' rooms then it seems you might have a case for beating the bedroom tax.

A single father argued that his spare bedroom was used by his son, who stays overnight with him up to three nights per week. In court, a judge ruled that the Bedroom Tax should not apply to him.

The Mirror reports:

Many social renters have struggled to deal with the burden of Bedroom Tax on spare rooms. But there may be light on the horizon.

A tribunal in Middlesbrough has decided a child of parents living apart is entitled a bedroom in each of their homes for visits. And the campaigners who brought the case are now urging other social renters to challenge the bedroom tax.

The paper adds that this means up to 40,000 parents who have joint custody of their children and whose spare rooms are therefore used periodically when the kids stay overnight could bring similar cases to court.

The judge said:

“It’s now a normal part of society that children split their time between their parents.”

In the first instance, speak to your landlord if you feel your use of the spare bedroom shouldn't be subject to Bedroom Tax. You can also write to your Housing Benefits office to tell them that you wish to appeal the decision, but you'll need to outline your reasons - such as joint custody of a child - for believing that your spare room should not be considered unoccupied.

The Mirror article linked to above includes helpful information about your grounds for appeal, including templates for writing the appropriate letters.

If you're subject to the Bedroom Tax and feel it's unfair, we'd love to hear your views and comments over on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Flickr/AntSmith

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