DWP considering issuing new guidance to councils and tribunals about bedroom tax

  • The Department of Work and Pensions is beginning to consider issuing new guidelines to councils and tribunals on how to deal with bedroom tax cases after four successful appeals against the tax.

    Inside Housing has reported that the DWP will consider whether Fife Council or the first-tier tribunal misunderstood the process of bedroom tax. Housing experts are split over the significance over these rulings.

    Even though the rulings haven't set a legal precedent, campaigners are arguing the rulings will provide fresh hope for tenants that believe they're being unfairly affected by the tax.

    As the DWP have not defined a bedroom and has said landlords have the ability to ‘accurately describe the property' councils have had to rely on data about property sizes supplied by associations.

    Four out of five appeals brought with the assistance of the Fife Law Centre were upheld. Fife Council have said that the bedroom tax is ‘unworkable' and that the rulings conflicted with guidance from the Chartered Institute of Housing, saying that it is up to landlords to describe properties.

    Sue Ramsden, policy leader at the National Housing Federation, said: ‘We expected this. In the absence of a legal definition, the tribunal will look at the everyday definition of a bedroom on a case-by-case basis.'

    Sam Lister, policy and practice officer at the CIH, said the rulings are limited to the facts of individual cases.

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