Monday 18 March 2013

GLC welcomes Housing Minister's advice on bedroom tax and apparent support for the principle of 'No evictions for bedroom tax arrears''

Govan Law Centre (GLC) has welcomed the Scottish Housing Minister's advice for landlords on the bedroom tax, which the Scottish Government has announced today.  In particular, GLC is pleased to see Housing Minister, Margaret Burgess, encourage social landlords to work with local authorities on the reclassification of 'bedrooms' where appropriate to mitigate the impact of the bedroom tax.

This was a legal issue which GLC on behalf of the Glasgow Advice Agency Ltd (GAA) had obtained the opinion of senior counsel over a month ago, and which GAA had expressly called for the Scottish Government to utlise as a practical strategy to minimse the application of under-occupancy charges, especially where a household had a disabled person. We support the Minister's helpful words of encouragement to social landlords' today:

"There are also circumstances where a bedroom’s classification may be changed and tenants not penalised. Again, I would encourage landlords to consider this possibility and work with their local authority if at all possible".

GLC also welcomes the Minister's endorsement of Dundee City Council's 'No eviction for bedroom tax arrears' policy, which we believe is a very progressive initiative based upon the exact same principle as our 'No eviction for bedroom tax arrears' campaign. The Dundee City Council policy will last for 12 months and guarantees that no tenant who is doing their best to pay their rent arrears will be evicted for bedroom tax arrears. The Minister's statement on this issue is reproduced below, and GLC hopes that the Scottish Government will reconsider its position on amending section 16 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 in light of its apparent support for Dundee's no evictions for bedroom tax policy.

The Scottish Housing Minister said today: "You may wish to be aware of the policy adopted by Dundee City Council which I believe provides a useful template to protect tenants who genuinely cannot make up the shortfall in rent caused by the bedroom tax. The Council has committed that, where the Director of Housing is satisfied that affected tenants are doing all that can be reasonably expected to in order to avoid falling into arrears, they will use all legitimate means to collect rent due, except eviction. I would encourage you to consider this as a mechanism to protect the most vulnerable of your tenants.”


  1. I live in a maisonette and have a spare room which means I am liable for the bedroom tax. I do not have a garden, garage or large shed all of which could be used to generate a modest income. As I do not have these amenities I feel that I should be exempt from the charge as I am receiving jobseekers allowance at the moment and cannot make any income from my spare room.. Also who came up with the amount of 14% for one bedroom as this is absurdly high. Of course it is all a con by the government just to get a cut in benefits while also linking rent directly to the claimant benifit will reduce by a considerable amount each year and jobseekers will be forced out onto the streets where the government couldnt care less what happens to them.

  2. Everybody who got their Benefit Decision Notice BEFORE the 1st April NEEDS to appeal......... This is so important and so obvious.... The Housing Authority CANNOT time travel...... they cannot make a decision with the new law in the future and time travel back to give you your decision..... and conversely they cannot apply the law of the future before it becomes law....... APPEAL APPEAL APPEAL........