Three housing associations who cover the Brighouse area have been trying to prepare their tenants for the ‘bedroom tax’.
The Together Housing Group, including Pennine Housing 2000, has been working pro-actively for the past 12 months to prepare tenants for the new tax that starts on April 1.
This means tenants of working age on housing benefit will have to pay £12 every week if they have a spare bedroom.
Around 1,000 Pennine Housing properties in the Calderdale region, including some in Brighouse, could be affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ and staff have been visiting tenants affected to highlight the changes in the housing benefit scheme but also to explain options if a tenant decides they would like to remain in their own home or downsize to a smaller property.
Information has been provided on newsletters, leaflets and on websites as well as letters sent directly to them. These include transferring to a smaller property within the same association or alternatively within the national Homeswapper scheme at www.homeswapper.co.uk
Head of Pennine Janette Pearce said: “We have been working hard across Calderdale to try and prepare people for the ‘bedroom tax’.
“We have been contacting people who could be potentially affected by the increase to discuss their circumstances and their options.
“We are also working with partners in the Calderdale area to maximise the amount of support we are able to those affected by the changes.
“As a business, the vast majority of our income is from rent collected, which allows us to carry out the vast array of services we deliver to our tenants.
“So we’re keen to give people as much help as possible to make sure they continue to afford their housing costs.
“We would urge anybody who is worried about how the bedroom tax could affect them to call one of our specialist benefit advisors on 0300 555 0266.”
A spokeswoman for Jephson’s which has mainly one bed properties in Brighouse and Rastrick, said: “At Jephson Housing we have experienced an increase in notices given by residents who need to downsize because of the bedroom tax, as well as residents enquiring about moving to smaller properties within the Calderdale area.”
And head of operations for Sanctuary, John Hanson, said: “My colleagues and I have been working very hard to speak to all of our tenants who may be affected to make sure they understand the changes to housing benefits, and are aware of the options available to them.
“We would encourage anyone receiving housing benefit to look through the detail of the changes, and if you think you might be affected, speak to your landlord.”
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