FOI Request - Forecast Bedroom Tax Arrears

Request 101000130902

Please note questions 1-3 only apply to councils that still have their own council housing stock:

1. The proportion of all council housing tenants who fell into rent arrears during the most recent financial year for which full-year data is available (please state which financial year this is).

2. Any forecast/estimate of the proportion (or failing that, number) of council housing tenants in the council area who are affected by the bedroom tax who will fall into rent arrears in 2013/14. To be clear, this is seeking the proportion of council housing tenants affected by the bedroom tax who will fall into arrears. It is not asking what proportion of all council housing tenants will be affected by the bedroom tax.

3. Any over-arching definition or methodology the council has used in determining the number of bedrooms in council housing properties, for the purposes of assessing under-occupation of council housing properties with regards to the bedroom tax

4. Any over-arching definition or methodology the council has asked registered social landlords to use in determining the number of bedrooms in social/affordable housing properties, for the purposes of assessing under-occupation of social/affordable housing with regards to the bedroom tax

5. Any over-arching definition or methodology that registered social landlords have used in determining the number of bedrooms in social/affordable housing properties, for the purposes of assessing under-occupation of social/affordable housing with regards to the bedroom tax.

6. Any forecast/estimate of the proportion (or failing that, number) of registered social landlord tenants in the council area who are affected by the bedroom tax who will fall into rent arrears in 2013/14. To be clear, this is seeking the proportion of RSL tenants affected by the bedroom tax who will fall into arrears. It is not asking what proportion of all RSL tenants will be affected by the bedroom tax. The information may be provided individually for different RSLs, or combined for a number of RSLs, or combined for all RSLs (the preference would be for separate data for different RSLs, but this is not cast in stone).

This information requested in questions 5 and 6 may have been provided by RSLs to the council’s housing benefit officers or legal teams – if not, please pass on this request to RSLs under the duty to assist and forward any responses (that are sent within the 20 day time limit) as part of the overall FOI response.

If any part of this request would exceed the section 12 cost/time limit due to the information not being stored in one place or being hard to collate or retrieve, please mark that part of the request as ‘information not held’ and fulfil the remainder of this request.

In this request, ‘council housing tenants’ refers to households, rather than individual people (so, a family of three living in one council house would count as one tenant, rather than three tenants).

In this request, ‘affected by the bedroom tax’ means deemed to be under-occupying their property under the terms of the bedroom tax, and not a member of an exempt group (e.g. pensioners).

Response 18-03-2013

1. This information is available as a snapshot as at 31st March 2012 - 20% of tenants were in arrears (1147 out of 5727 tenants).

2. This information is not held and is therefore exempt under Section 17 (1b) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

3. Compliance with building regulations at the time. There is a diverse pattern of house ages and size across the housing stock. For current queries, the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 provides a useful benchmark.  

4. We have accepted RSL definition on the amount of bedrooms.

5. This information is not held and is therefore exempt under Section 17 (1b) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

6. This information is not held and is therefore exempt under Section 17 (1b) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

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