We demand that the Council now reconsider it’s flawed and unnecessary application of this tax!
A Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth member won her appeal against application of the bedroom tax to her front room last week following protests from the group and representation from Kevin Long at Lambeth Law Centre.
The judge in a tribunal held last month decided that the tax should not apply to the room when use was taken into account. Prior to this decision the Council had simply relied on the Landlord’s classification of the number of bedrooms in the property, showing to members of our group negligence and compliance with Landlords over tenants on behalf of the Council who should have simply carried an independent assessment of the property.
Kevin Long, who since cuts to Legal Aid has worked free of charge on this case, said “I’m now more convinced than ever that every bedroom tax decision should be appealed. Take for example a 2-bedroom under-occupying council tenant where grown-up kid(s) have left home and the spare room is used for storage/study/meditation room/personal library. Clearly this is a situation that the tax was meant to hit – but if you apply the room-use argument to its a logical extreme then the tenant would still have a chance of overcoming it.”
HASL are calling to anyone hit by this tax to contact the group, we hope with this experience we can challenge this regressive policy and have the tax on as many tenants as possible lifted and refunded.
We are also calling on the Council’s of Lambeth and Southwark to reconsider it’s application across the board. Recent steps taken by Glasgow Council prove that Councils need not be simply administrators of regressive central government policy. As Kevin again states “Councils should be inspecting to establish the ‘facts on the ground’ rather than just relying on the landlord’s classification. This might involve a consideration of ‘use’ – but it might also address issues where there is a genuine dispute over the number of rooms – consider for example a room that has been bricked-up due to partial collapse; or a room uninhabitable due to historic decay; or, as with us, a through-room.”
We will be celebrating our success this weekend in style, making great use of this member’s front room!