Leeds tenants could claim housing benefit rebate

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Hundreds of tenants could have a housing benefit rebate because of a legislation “loophole”.

The YEP understands hundreds of residents in Leeds have wrongly been identified as paying bedroom tax.

Working-age tenants who have lived in the same council or housing association property since 1996 and continuously claimed housing benefit will be affected by the Government oversight.

Council officers will examine their records dating back 18 years to identify people affected by the loophole.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This loophole will benefit people who have been in receipt of benefits for more than 18 years.

“There can be no doubt that these are going to be some of the most disabled and vulnerable people in our city .

“While I welcome the fact that many people will receive a rebate of housing benefit, I am shocked that the government’s poorly drafted legislation forced them into this concession.

“In Leeds we are looking back over the last 18 years in order to identify cases where a rebate is due.

“This will unfortunately not be every resident but we will endeavour to detect each council and housing association tenant who is owed money from April 2013.”

Residents who are set for a rebate will then be subject to the so-called bedroom tax when the loophole is closed in March.

More than 7,000 tenants across the city are affected by the spare room subsidy which penalises council housing and housing association tenants if they are deemed to have a ‘spare’ bedroom by reducing their housing benefit.

Coun Wakefield added: “The government has confirmed it will be legislating to bring people affected by this change back under the bedroom tax.

“I call on the government to not only stop on this course, but to also remove the bedroom tax in its entirety from the statute books.”

Residents who think they may have been affected by the loophole can contact 0113 222 4404.

Coun Judith Blake.

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