Councils should collect data on the size of bedrooms
The Chartered Institute of Housing is advising councils to ensure that data is gathered about room sizes from social landlords so that properties that could be subject to appeals against paying bedroom tax are flagged up.
Whilst the four successful appeals against bedroom tax in Scotland have set no legal precedent one tribunal ruled that it is ‘relevant to have regard to statutory space standards’ when decided what is a bedroom so that others could follow suit.
Standards state that one person can occupy a room of no less than 70 square feet, reports Inside Housing.
The DWP have not yet defined a bedroom and have left it up to landlords to describe properties to councils. Questions have been raised about the extent to which councils should rely on associations’ property descriptions.
Policy and Practise officer at CIH, Sam Lister, says that the ‘majority of cases’ are unlikely to be problematic and councils can rely on landlord property descriptions. He has advised that councils should ask landlords for information such as the age of the property and room sizes. This information should then ‘flag’ properties in which there may be problems, so the council ‘knows to investigate further’.
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