The bedroom tax is still blighting the lives of people who struggle to pay rent in a home they are told is too big for them yet are unable to move to somewhere smaller.

J was sharing her home with her son and caring for her daughter’s child who spent time living with his mum and J, his grandmother. Only one of them was allowed to get support for a bedroom for the child. Even though her grandson stayed with J a lot she wasn’t seen as the primary carer so her housing benefit was reduced and her rental debt started to mount up.

Then, the tragic death of her son left her caring her grandchild alone and living in what was cruelly deemed ‘oversized accommodation’.

J and her grandchild were at risk of being evicted from their home when she got in touch with us.

She came to our housing legal advice drop-in clinic and we immediately called on the expertise of the housing benefit expert we work with. With their help, J applied for a grant to cover her rent shortfall to stop debt building up in the short term. J worked with our expert and the local authority, applying for a one-off payment to cover her rent arrears. The authority agreed to consider the payment but only if J could find a smaller home.

We spent many, many hours helping J find a smaller home. It is very hard because there is a severe lack of suitable social housing. But in the end we were able to help J find a new, affordable home. The local authority then agreed to clear her debt. Best of all she is no longer getting into any more rental debt!

J and her grandchild moved into her new home a week before the coronavirus lockdown began and they are so happy – as are we!

You can get housing legal advice and support from us online and over the phone as our drop-in is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. You can call our homelessness prevention hotline on 01494 447699 Monday to Friday, 10am - 4pm or contact us online