bt1Leeds City Council has been looking at ways to reduce the number of people who are being penalised by the Government for the under occupancy of a house.

As part of the new welfare changes that are now in place, those tenants under occupying a house will receive up to 14% less housing benefit if they are assessed to have one additional bedroom and up to 25% if they are assessed to have two or more additional bedrooms. There are 6748 Council tenants affected in Leeds.

The council has re-designating the number of bedrooms in a wide range of council homes across the city so as to reduce the amount of people who may lose out on their housing benefit. The changes are:

  • 398 three bedroom low rise flats to two bedrooms;
  • 341 five bedrooms houses with a downstairs bedroom to four bedroom houses; and
  • 126 two bedroom multi storey flats to one bedroom where the second bedroom is accessed through the living room.

In total this means that 865 properties have been re-designated.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:

“As part of our ambition to be the best city in the UK we want to make sure people can live comfortably in our city without the worry of not being able to pay their rent.

As well as helping the tenants affected the council also benefits from this scheme through saving the costs that come from chasing rent, such as legal costs and additional staff.

With thanks to Councillor Alex Sobel for information.

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