Extra Rooms for Carers
This only applies to tenants already in social housing or those applying to be allocated social housing in the Braintree District.
Braintree District Council (BDC) administers the Housing Register for the District and all social housing is let to people on the register through the ‘Gateway to Homechoice’ scheme. Vacancies in social housing are advertised on a weekly basis and people who have a current application can indicate their interest using the scheme’s website or by contacting the Council.
The Council’s allocation policy sets out how applications are prioritised and how people choose where they want to live. The policy is geared to ensuring that people are allocated homes that are fully occupied (i.e. without ‘spare’ bedrooms). The number of bedrooms for which households qualify is broadly in line with Housing Benefit regulations.
If an applicant/tenant needs to move to secure an extra room for a carer, the Council will investigate and offer advice on the need for an extra room.
The following is taken from the Housing Allocations Policy:
• Social Services should be able to give supporting evidence to the Local Authority [in this case Braintree District Council] that a ‘live in’ carer is needed, and that if the support was not given voluntarily or paid for by the client, they would qualify for funding for a ‘live in’ carer.
• If one person has two carers working on a rota to cover 24 hours we would assume that they only needed one bedroom.
• In most cases only one extra bedroom for a carer will be considered. Extra rooms for a carer’s dependents cannot usually be considered.
• If the applicant does not need 24 hour care or intensive support an additional bedroom would not normally be considered, however an individual assessment will be made.
• Applicants in receipt of Housing Benefit will need to be aware that from April 2013, they may not qualify for housing benefit for the extra bedroom. In such circumstances, the applicant will be responsible for paying any short fall.
BDC are therefore looking for support from Social Services that the applicant would qualify for a live-in carer. If Social Services make such an assessment then you may be entitled to an extra bedroom.
Please note, this applies really to people living on their own, not already living with their family.
“ Under Occupancy” deductions from Housing Benefit
A size criteria is applied in the social rented sector (eg council and housing association properties). This means that people living in houses larger than they need (under-occupiers) will have to move to somewhere smaller or make up the difference in rent because their Housing Benefit will be reduced:
• 14% cut in eligible rent if you under-occupy by one bedroom
• 25% cut in eligible rent if you under-occupy by two or more bedrooms
These changes do not affect tenants of Pensionable Age.
The rules differ for people living in privately rented accommodation. Their Housing Benefit is based on the Local Housing Allowance for the area. Braintree District Council’s website shows the different rates depending on the number of bedrooms and the location of the property.
Council Tax Support
If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax then you may be entitled to receive Council Tax Support. This is based on your household’s income and circumstances. You can apply on Braintree District Council’s website, or ask for a paper application form.
Council Tax Discount for Single Occupancy
There are discounts and disregards available depending on your circumstances.
The full Council Tax bill assumes there are at least two adults (aged 18 years or over) living in a property. If only one adult is resident (as their sole or main home) a discount of 25% will be allowed. This is called Single Occupier Discount.
Other Disregards & Exemptions available?
In some cases “additional residents” are disregarded – ie they are not counted when looking at the number of residents in the property.
The link below gives full details of the categories eligible to apply for a disregard or exemption:
If you need any further information from Braintree District Council, on the above, please see their website or call 01376 552525.
Please note this Information was produced in July 2015 and may be subject to future changes.