The “Bedroom Tax” and overcrowding: can “storage sharing” solve both?

By admin on April 9th, 2013 | 6 Comments

The “Bedroom Tax” and overcrowding: can “storage sharing” solve both?

Shaff Prabatani, founder of Storemates.co.uk, comes up with a neat solution to help those experiencing housing difficulty.

Last week the Government rolled out its wide-ranging benefit reforms. Controversially, the cornerstone of this has been the “Under Occupation Penalty” (dubbed the “Bedroom Tax” by its opponents), which targets the 660,000 tenants of under-occupied council properties and social housing who are in receipt of housing benefit.

Bedroom Tax

Under the new rules, housing benefit will be reduced by 14% if residents have a spare bedroom, or by 25% if they have two or more extra rooms.

Critics say this unfairly puts financial stress on vulnerable families, and in particular on disabled residents who have lived in their homes all of their lives. They will now face a £15–£25 reduction a week in benefits and risk falling into arrears or facing eviction if they cannot make up the shortfall.

The government says the policy is designed to encourage people to move into accommodation appropriate to their needs, to free up larger properties for many families who need the extra space.

However, many housing charities have highlighted the fact that there are limited smaller properties available to move into. So, even if households did want to downsize, they may not be able to do so due to the lack of supply; plus they could face additional costs of over £100 a month in reduced benefits – a significant amount for low earners.

A solution

So how can those affected by the cut make up the shortfall? Well, besides working longer hours or sub-letting a spare room, an easier option for many could be to rent out a spare room as storage space to people looking for cheap storage.

Storemates provides a platform for people with a little extra room to advertise this to people seeking storage, but not at expensive self storage prices. Those affected by the bedroom tax could feasibly rent out a spare room, loft or garage if they have one and make back in monthly rent enough to cover their shortfall. This will also benefit the many overcrowded families who could benefit from a little extra space to store their belongings, and who often live side by side with those who are under-occupying their property.

Do the sums

Those seeking to rent out their space will have to work out how the additional income will affect their benefit entitlement, but with careful price-setting they may be able to make the arrangement work for them. Besides the financial benefits, there are also the “community benefits” as neighbours realise that by collaborating in this way can help both sides take back control of their circumstances and their living spaces.

Storemates hopes to promote this opportunity widely to Local Authorities, social landlords and individuals who could benefit. For many households, listing their additional space for free via Storemates.co.uk could be the only way they avoid being evicted from their family home.

by Shaff Prabatani, Founder and Co-Director of Storemates

  • If you are affected by the “Bedroom Tax” and need help or advice, you can get further info from the housing charity Shelter, or seek advice from your Local Authority’s housing advice services or social landlord.
  • If you know of anyone who could benefit from this information, please pass it on to them. Alternatively, you may want to join the Community Storage Broker Scheme operated by Storemates, which pays you to help people in the community link up with a Storemate local to them – another useful way of earning through Storemates. For more information go to https://www.storemates.co.uk/community-storage-brokers
  • For a quick guide to how Storemates works, see the video on the website, featuring Anna and Maia (pictured above).
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6 Responses to “The “Bedroom Tax” and overcrowding: can “storage sharing” solve both?”

  1. gillian kinder says:

    we would only be allowed to keep £20 a week of payment for rental, which wont even cover some peoples’ bedroom tax. Also effects council tax, so another anomaly. #wasteoftime

  2. Shaff says:

    If average reduction is £15 -£25, then surely receiving an extra £80 would help a bit.The other solution is for the storage rental fee to go directly to your landlord and they take this off the service charge or rent to minimise the impact on you. Hope things work out. Shaff

  3. John Smith says:

    This government policy is designed to encourage people who are living in rented, less spaced accommodation for a longer time.

  4. Skintbuthappy says:

    Stop calling it a bedroom tax it is not a tax! It is a reduction in benefit which is appreciated by all of us who are net contributors to the system.

  5. Imogen Rees says:

    It is really a clever solution, I would do it with pleasure! Thanks for the smart advice!

  6. @Alex that is exactly right, that’s why this is evident that it is not a tax , its a deduction, this can simply not be avoided.

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