Tenants of Liverpool may be able to challenge their subjection to the bedroom tax after a markable successful appeal in Scotland.
A tenant in Kirkcaldy has been found to be incorrectly judged as liable for bedroom tax, and will have all housing benefit that has been deducted refunded.
The tenant was originally found to be “under-occupying” two bedrooms of a three bedroom house, based on information provided to the council by the landlord. After an appeal to Fife council’s decision, the tribunal judge found that the property in fact had one bedroom, and that the tenant is not liable for the reduction of their housing benefit.
Since April, tenants in social housing will suffer a housing benefit cut if they are seen to be “under-occupying” their properties. Those with two or more spare bedrooms will have this reduced by 25%, a majority of the 670,000 affected.
The Merseyside Federation of Anti-Bedroom Tax Groups sees this as an opportunity for Liverpool tenants to appeal to their councils and question their liability for the benefit cut. The way in which this is determined in Merseyside is similar to that of Fife’s, relying on the accuracy of information given by landlords and housing associations. Room size and purpose must also be taken into account when this decision is made, and councils may be pressured to carry out inspections themselves.
Regular protests have been held in Liverpool and throughout the country, and many neighbourhood based groups continue to fight against the cut.