By Kaye Wiggins
More than 300 Lambeth households are due to receive refunds after being wrongly made to pay the “bedroom tax”, figures seen by the Brixton Blog reveal.
Figures from Lambeth council show at least 333 households are in line to be reimbursed.
The figure is set to continue rising as council officers identify more people who were wrongly charged, under a government policy that removes a “spare room subsidy” by cutting housing benefit payments for people in social housing who are deemed to have more rooms than they need.
The refunded money will be given to working-age residents who have lived in their homes since 1996. A government error when drafting the legislation meant these people, who have been charged on average £14 to £22 per week since April last year, should not have been made to pay.
The refunds could be in the form of extra housing benefit payments, or in the case of residents with rent arrears it could be used towards the arrears.
However, it is likely that the residents getting refunds will have to start paying the charge or move to smaller properties in the next few months, as the government is planning to close the loophole that has allowed them to get refunds.
Officers at Lambeth council have identified 648 households who might be entitled to “bedroom tax” refunds. So far they have checked 502 of these cases, of which 333 were found to have been wrongly charged.