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Bedroom tax will hit Northamptonshire residents warns housing association

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A housing association which manages more than 1,000 homes across Northamptonshire has warned changes to the benefits system could seriously impact on its residents.

The Asra Housing Group owns and manages about 1,150 homes in Northamptonshire.

The group has said 121 of its tenants in the county will be affected by the so-called ‘bedroom tax’, which means they have a spare bedroom in their property and will lose some of their housing benefit if they do not down-size.

The group’s chief executive, Matt Cooney, said: “From April the bedroom tax will affect 10 per cent of our customers living in Northamptonshire.

“We are working very hard to ensure all affected customers are aware of their options and if they would like to move we’re here to help them.”

He warned however that the bedroom tax was just the ‘tip of the iceberg’, suggesting residents could also get into debt because of changes to the way housing benefit will be paid in the future.

He said: “From October, this year, customers will be paid their housing benefit directly rather than it being paid to their landlord.

“Trials of this model from elsewhere in the country have found that rent collection fell by as much as eight per cent.

“This is a significant drop and will mean thousands of people will potentially fall into rent arrears and the local housing sector will be expected to absorb these hefty losses.”

 

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