January 2016 – Rent Arrears on the Rise
Half of tenants affected by bedroom tax fail to make up shortfall in rent according to research by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). This research also finds that only 36 percent of those affected who applied for a discretionary housing payment were successful
The report (Evaluation of Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy) sets out the findings of research carried out over the first 20 months of implementation of the bedroom tax, from April 2013 until November 2014. Key findings of the research include:
Around 12,000 claimants affected by the bedroom tax nationally were estimated to have moved to the private rented sector, less than 2.2 per cent of affected tenants
The proportion of affected claimants who had paid all their bedroom tax rental shortfall rose from 41 per cent in 2013 to 50 per cent in 2014, whilst the proportion who had paid none of their shortfall fell from 20 per cent to 10 per cent
Claimants who were still affected by the bedroom tax in 2014 were more likely than those no longer affected to say they run out of money by the end of the week or month very/fairly often (78 per cent compared with 69 per cent)
Among those still affected, claimants had paid the rent by: using up savings, borrowing from family or friends or accruing debt, although it was not known whether they had a history of borrowing for other purposes
In the group affected cut backs were made on energy (46 per cent of those who had cut back on spending), travel (33 per cent), food (76 per cent) and leisure costs (42 per cent) and
Overall 55 per cent of tenants affected by the bedroom tax were in arrears in autumn 2014, though 43 per cent had been in arrears in March 2013 (prior to the introduction of the bedroom tax).
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