Money owed to Gwent landlords soars in 2013

South Wales Argus: RISING RENT ARREARS: Tenants of social housing landlords facing rent debt RISING RENT ARREARS: Tenants of social housing landlords facing rent debt

MONEY owed to housing associations across Gwent increased by 14 per cent in 2013 from last year, figures have shown.

Tenants in Gwent owed £3.24 million to Tai Calon, Newport City Homes, Monmouthshire Housing Association and Bron Afon at the start of December. This time last year, the four associations were owed £2.8 million.

The Government’s spare room subsidy, or bedroom tax as it has been dubbed by critics of the policy, was said to be the main reason for the increase.

The spare room subsidy ensured working age tenants from a local authority, housing association or social landlord receive Housing Benefit based on the number of people in their household and the size of their accommodation. Only approved foster carers, or rooms for students and members of the armed or reserve forces can be allocated as ‘spare’.

People with more than one spare bedroom now lose 14 per cent of their eligible rent and two or more spare bedrooms lose 25 per cent.

The number of tenants in debt to Bron Afon and Monmouthshire Housing Association (MHA) decreased from December 2012 but the money owed to MHA increased from £506,954 in 2012 to £525,712 in 2013.

Newport City Homes were owed £1.167 million at the start of December by 3,596 tenants. In December 2012, they were owed £850,414 by 3,134 tenants.

Tai Calon was owed £538,193 in comparison to £368,554 the year before. The number of people owing money has increased from 1,707 in December 2012 to 2,277 in December 2013.

The Director of Communities and Housing at Tai Calon Community Housing, Andrew Myatt, said the bedroom tax has “caused difficulties” for some tenants, which accounts for the number of people in rental arrears.

He said: “We want tenants to be able to stay in their homes. Where we are able, we help tenants to downsize to smaller properties.”

And Blaenau Gwent AM Alun Davies said: “This is a significant increase in arrears and money owed and is a result of the benefit reforms bought in by the UK coalition government.”

Citizens Advice said it gave more than 22,000 people advice on social housing rent arrears from July to September 2013.

It also reported a 12 per cent increase in enquiries about homelessness and a doubling of enquiries about discretionary housing payments.

Comments (5)

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10:43am Tue 7 Jan 14

snafu1 says...

Check out website" false economy " some very interesting info on this subject ,that may save you from being penalised from this vile tax
Check out website" false economy " some very interesting info on this subject ,that may save you from being penalised from this vile tax snafu1
  • Score: -6

12:55pm Tue 7 Jan 14

davidcp says...

Can someone advise if the housing benefits are being paid direct to landlords or tenants, now? Just in case it is a factor.
Can someone advise if the housing benefits are being paid direct to landlords or tenants, now? Just in case it is a factor. davidcp
  • Score: 6

1:11pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Jinxey says...

davidcp wrote:
Can someone advise if the housing benefits are being paid direct to landlords or tenants, now? Just in case it is a factor.
I believe the tenant gets a choice, although the council seems to encourage people to have the benefit paid directly to the tenant as opposed to the landlord.
[quote][p][bold]davidcp[/bold] wrote: Can someone advise if the housing benefits are being paid direct to landlords or tenants, now? Just in case it is a factor.[/p][/quote]I believe the tenant gets a choice, although the council seems to encourage people to have the benefit paid directly to the tenant as opposed to the landlord. Jinxey
  • Score: 4

3:07pm Tue 7 Jan 14

GogExile says...

davidcp wrote:
Can someone advise if the housing benefits are being paid direct to landlords or tenants, now? Just in case it is a factor.
I had a Romanian family in the flat below me who were initially paid their housing benefit directly but this was changed to being paid directly to the landlord as they just kept the money and never paid their rent.
[quote][p][bold]davidcp[/bold] wrote: Can someone advise if the housing benefits are being paid direct to landlords or tenants, now? Just in case it is a factor.[/p][/quote]I had a Romanian family in the flat below me who were initially paid their housing benefit directly but this was changed to being paid directly to the landlord as they just kept the money and never paid their rent. GogExile
  • Score: 4

7:05pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Matty639 says...

And people will wonder why fewer and fewer landlords are willing to rent to social tenants. I certainly wouldn't.
And people will wonder why fewer and fewer landlords are willing to rent to social tenants. I certainly wouldn't. Matty639
  • Score: 5

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