Last year we moved from a large private 2 bedroom maisonette to a smaller council 2 bedroom flat as an upstairs maisonette isn’t practical when you can’t walk. Our medical priority for a council place only applied to two bedroom flats or bungalows, as the council said we needed two bedrooms for medical reasons. One of those bedrooms has now been classed as spare, despite the same medical reasons applying. We would not have received medical priority (so wouldn’t have moved as quickly as we did) had we bid on any one bedroom place.
This is a quick comparison on how much the council and we would pay had we stayed in our maisonette (we had an epic landlord who didn’t raise the rent above the rate of local housing allowance we’d get) and what we’ll be paying in our current flat. Not included: value of free pizza received from old epic landlord.
|Private Maisonette||Council Flat|
|Rent per week||£90||£72.87|
|One bedroom local housing allowance rate||£91.15||N/A|
|Housing Benefit paid||£90||£62.67|
|Total shortfall to make up||£0||£10.20|
|Cost to council over 1 year||£4680||£3258.84|
|Cost to us over 1 year||£0||£530.40|
I know we were very lucky to get a large 2 bedroom maisonette for the one bedroom local housing allowance rate, but we wouldn’t have been penalised for it. It costs the council more to pay the one bedroom rate for a private let than it does to pay the full rent for our two bedroom flat, yet the way the bedroom tax works it’s going to push some people into private housing (as there simply aren’t enough smaller council properties available). Ultimately, it’s not going to save anyone any money, it’ll just make the poor poorer.
We also need to pay £90 a year council tax when previously we’d had the full amount paid as we were considered to be on a low income. That means we’ve got to find an extra £620.40 this year- I can promise you our benefits haven’t increased by anywhere near that amount!