Yet more controversy over taxation and property

December 18, 2012

Landlords Insurance

Yet another row has erupted over one aspect of the government’s proposed changes to social housing related benefits*.

The main points here can be summarised succinctly as:

  1. the government and much of society accept that there is a huge problem in terms of insufficient social housing;
  2. at the moment, the figure quoted for people awaiting social housing allocation has reached the incredible level of five million – and that figure only covers England;
  3. all parties also typically accept that there are a significant number of properties around the country which are occupied by a smaller number of people than they were designed for.  That means that one or more bedrooms might be unoccupied and this has been something of an intellectual challenge for many people – unfortunately without too many winning ideas coming forward;
  4. in many cases, the people concerned are occupying a house that is too large for them because of changes in their family circumstances – for example, children that have grown up and have left home for university or their own lives etc.;
  5. whilst nobody seriously doubts that this problem requires some attention, the government have tackled it head on by announcing that social housing benefits will be reduced for those people living in properties that they can no longer justify in terms of their present day family size. For obvious reasons, this has been referred to as the bedroom tax;
  6. this might conceivably have some effect on landlords who are active in the social housing area.  Already some have seen the social benefits for the tenants reduced and depending upon the exact circumstances, this might also have a similar effect in some cases;
  7. of course, landlords are affected by the prevailing economic climate like everybody else and are constantly seeking to reduce their costs through things such as trying to find the best landlords insurance quote. Understandably, some will be worried by any change that might mean that their tenants have less money available and are perhaps more likely to start drifting into arrears;
  8. many well intentioned parties are not questioning that the issue of tenants occupying properties that are too large for them is one that requires attention however there is some considerable dispute as to whether the government’s present approach is the way to deal with the problem.


It seems likely as if this dispute will run on for some time.


Landlords will be watching developments with interest.




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