Housing changes to beat Bedroom Tax

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Rent arrears in Liverpool are at an all time high. Pic © Wikimedia / Creative Commons

Pic © Wikimedia / Creative Commons

Across Liverpool some empty three-bedroom homes are being turned into two in a bid to avoid being taxed under the ‘under-occupancy charge’, also known as the ‘Bedroom Tax’.

One local firm claims the demand for three-bedroom homes has gone down due to people being unable to afford to pay the bedroom tax, with the Cobalt Housing agency converting 83 properties to help tackle the issue. They are hoping to convert another 120 before they are done.

Alan Rogers, managing director of Cobalt Housing, told JMU Journalism: “We own and manage 6,000 properties and 70% of these properties are three bedroom houses so we are doing it to sustain popularity and increase tenants.”

Mr Rogers said: “The cost is going to be purely on the renovation of the three-bedroom to two bedroom homes, will roughly be £1,300. We have some associated costs which we haven’t counted in the equations.”

The housing agency says it is striving to keep its rent as low as possible. Cobalt board members have always looked to balance the amount of rent charged with the amount of services provided.

Mr Rodgers added: “Once people move into these homes, they are likely to stay in them. It is a practical solution. We try and work with tenants so they are financially responsible and can claim the benefits which they are required.”

In order to meet the changing needs of the tenant, the agency realised that people were moving into the three-bedroom homes and couldn’t afford them and ending up leaving. They hope this new strategy will be more affordable and keep tenants in their properties.

About Caoimhe Harkin, JMU Journalism