Judge rules bedroom tax should not apply to separated parents
A judge has ruled that single parents should not be penalised for children’s bedrooms that are only occupied part time.
In what may prove to be a landmark case, a judge has upheld an appeal by a single dad in Middlesbrough who had had 14% of his housing benefit docked. The local authority had previously declared that the single dad’s two-bedroom home was under-occupied.
Following an appeal, a tribunal decided that the extra bedroom, which is used by the separated man’s son for three nights per week, should not be subject to a reduction in benefits, and that Bedroom Tax should not apply.
The judge declared that a child of parents living apart should have a bedroom available in each home. Speaking to The Mirror, he said:
“It’s now a normal part of society that children split their time between their parents… and consequently no deduction applies.”
Shadow work and pensions secretary for Rachel Reeves has campaigned to abolish the Bedroom Tax, which can add an average of £14 for one unoccupied bedroom and £25 for two or more to renters’ monthly expenses.
This recent ruling may open the door for other single parents to appeal, but it seems likely that the wider policy will not be affected.
If you’d like some free support with making arrangements for your children after separation, visit Splitting Up? Put Kids First to help you put together a parenting plan.