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Housing benefit reform: Housing associations struggle to let 700 homes
Brian Meechan, BBC Wales
20 November 2013


Changes to benefits payments have led to difficulties letting affordable homes and may stop hundreds more being built every year, research suggests.

Community Housing Cymru (CHC), which represents housing associations, reports problems letting 700 homes.

It is claimed a cut in the spare room subsidy from housing benefit means some tenants do not want larger properties.

The UK government said it could not afford "to pay for people to live in properties larger than they need".

Ministers reduced entitlement to housing benefit for working age tenants in April.

Those with one extra bedroom had a reduction of 14% to their eligible rent and those with two or more extra bedrooms, a 25% cut.

A CHC survey of its member housing associations aimed to assess the impact of the spare room subsidy, called a "bedroom tax" by some critics.

CHC estimated the cost to its members in the first six months since the changes was more than £1m, which it said would impact on future investment.

It said the majority of its members had seen an increase in rent arrears as some tenants had struggled to pay.

Housing associations report having 700 houses that have become difficult to rent as prospective tenants do not want larger properties because their benefits will not cover them.

Read full story on the BBC Wales website.
 
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