With bedroom tax rent arrears forecast to hit £1m in Wythenshawe, campaigners call for fight against evictions
Rent arrears in Wythenshawe will soar to £1 million because of the bedroom tax, say housing bosses.
Manchester City Council hosted a summit on Friday of authorities opposed to the bedroom tax to discuss options to help support residents affected by housing benefit reforms.
Cllr Jim Battle, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We urge any tenant who is struggling to pay their rent to contact their landlord or housing association and find out what support they can get with housing advice, managing finances and assistance with a move – even tenants looking to find work. Talk to your landlord. We will also act to amend rehousing policies to ensure Manchester people are able, where possible, to be fairly considered if they need to downsize.
“Social landlords are there to help and advise tenants. There will be circumstances when social landlords will take repossession action – but social housing tenants are legally protected and all repossession cases will need to be heard by a county court judge before any eviction process can take place.
“The city council will continue to oppose the government’s housing benefit reforms and will support the case to remove and protest against this very real and unfair tax.
“As such, the city council has changed its rehousing policy to make sure that tenants suffering the blows of the bedroom tax and those people in the greatest housing need will not challenge each other for properties by having two allocation streams – one for tenants looking to downsize and one for tenants who have priority rehousing needs.
“Manchester City Council will also be hosting a meeting with representatives of local government authorities across the country to discuss the impact of the bedroom tax and speak collectively about any future action to oppose it.”
But anti-bedroom tax campaigners says landlords and politicians should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with worried tenants and back tenants who are faced with eviction. The campaigners have pledged to take direct action to stop evictions and are planning to lobby social landlords from across the country who are meeting in Manchester on June 25 for the Chartered Institute of Housing Conference.