Torfaen tenants facing ‘spare room tax’ on benefits

A HOUSING association has warned hundreds of tenants will see their benefits hit when the ‘spare room tax’ comes into effect.

Bron Afon Housing Association has begun raising awareness of the legislation, which comes in next April.

Under the Welfare Reform Act 2012, people living in properties deemed to be underoccupied will see housing benefits slashed.

Benefits will be cut by 14 per cent of the overall rent for one spare bedroom, and 25 per cent for more than two.

Under the rules, one bedroom is allowed for each adult couple, anyone aged 16 or over, two children of the same sex aged under 6; two children regardless of sex under ten or any other child.

Bron Afon chief executive, Duncan Forbes, said: “We estimate that 1,700 of our tenants will be affected and have to somehow find the shortfall in rent themselves.

“We think many tenants will be shocked as a spare bedroom does not mean it is empty.”

Bron Afon charges an average weekly rent of £75, so the changes will mean that if you are paying £75 per week and have one spare bedroom your housing benefit will be cut by £10.50 and if you have two or more spare bedrooms it will be cut by £18.75.

All working age housing benefit claimants will be assessed to establish the size of accommodation they are deemed to need.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “It’s right that tenants in social housing who are living in homes that are larger than their needs make a contribution towards their rent or move to more appropriately sized accommodation – and this is exactly what people renting in the private sector do.”

Bron Afon tenants can call 01633 620 111 or 0800 111 4242 for details.

● Will you be affected? Call Hayley Mills on 01633 777287.

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