Rent arrears is up by £2.2m in six months after bedroom tax introduction

  • A survey of social landlords in Merseyside has found that rent arrears have spiralled in the six months after the introduction of bedroom tax.

    Twelve Merseyside housing associations have released figures that show £2.2m increase in arrears compared to corresponding period last year. The data also shows that empty properties have increased by 29% to 1,956 and the average time it takes to re-let an empty property has jumped from 28 to 38 days. This results in a loss of rent to landlords of £616,662 per month, reports Inside Housing.

    Managing director of Cobalt Housing, which is part of Symphony Housing Group, Alan Rogers, said "The bedroom tax is having a worsening impact on the number of perfectly good three-bedroom properties that are standing empty in our neighbourhoods. People are telling us they simply cannot afford to move into them because they'd be hit by the bedroom tax."

    The loss of income could help build more than 125 houses in the region, which would then create 280 jobs says the National Housing Federation.

    Daniel Klemm, north-west external affairs manager at the NHF, added: "Today's figures from Merseyside are yet more evidence to show that the bedroom tax is pushing vulnerable families into debt. People can't even move to smaller homes to avoid the bedroom tax because there aren't enough smaller properties."

    Paul Brant, chair of Riverside and deputy mayor of Liverpool City Council, said the policy had "got to go".

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