Swindon Council has lost a case at a ‘First Tier-Tribunal Social Entitlement Chamber’ over the ‘bedroom tax’. A tenant challenged the Council over the size of a third bedroom. The judge upheld the tenants appeal against being charged for the ‘third bedroom’ under the government’s ‘under-occupation’ regulations.

The judge rejected the assertion of the Council that the size of the bedroom was of no relevance in determining that the regulations applied. The judge rejected the position of the Council which was more or less that if a landlord says it’s a three bedroom house then it is. In their own words

for Housing Benefit purposes where rooms are designated as bedrooms by the landlord, they should be treated as such for Housing Benefit purposes”.

The room is all of 3.9m square or 42 square feet. As a Council officer admitted she “anticipated that a single mattress would fit in the room but there would be little room for anything else”.

The Council has 28 days to appeal against the judgement, though any appeal would have to be based on point of law.

You can read the judgement and the take on it by Housing Advisor Joe Halewood at this link:

https://speye.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/ftt-judge-correctly-interprets-bedroom-tax-room-size-how-unusual-councils-take-note/

Unless the appeal is overturned then the tenant will have to be refunded for the money she has paid from the introduction of the regulations.

This judgement may, of course, have implications for other tenants.

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