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Bedroom tax breaches human rights

View profile for Joanne Ellis
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On Friday a Judge in Scotland ruled that applying the bedoom tax to a couple who cannot share a room because one of the couples disability is a breach of human rights. The Judge said that the bedroom tax should not apply “where separate bedrooms are needed for members of a couple who, in absence of a severe disability, could reasonably be expected to share a single room.”

An earlier court of appeal case also ruled that the policy should not apply to children which could not share a bedroom because of their disability

On Wednesday the families whose judicial review application was dismissed by the High Court in July were given permission to appeal the decision. The families are arguing that the bedroom tax unlawfully discriminates against clients who are disabled

In addition to these decisions in relation to disability and human rights, successful challenges to the bedroom tax include challenging whether the room in question can be regarded as a bedroom. 

A tenant won a tribunal decision against Westminster council this week after successfully arguing that the additional room was used for the storage of medical equipment and not as a bedroom. This decision follows the tribunal decisions in Scotland regarding room size and intended usage.

It is clear that decisions in relation to the bedroom tax can be challenged and in some cases are being challenged successfully. It is important that people are aware of this and that they know where to go for help.  Tenants may be unnecessarily falling into arrears and risk losing their home because of the reduction in their housing benefit entitlement where there may be a challenge available. 

By Amy Tagoe, housing law team