According to the housing association Peabody, less than five% of its households hit by the bedroom tax are willing to downsize.
Sandra Skeete, the housing association’s executive director of housing, said just 50 out of their 1,000 households affected by the policy were interested in moving, with the rest preferring to make up the shortfall.
Under the bedroom tax, tenants with one or more spare bedrooms have their housing benefit docked, to encourage them to downsize.
The policy is intended to tackle the issue of overcrowding, but it has been criticised because there are not enough one or two bedroom properties for over occupying tenants to move into.
But Ms Skeete’s revelation to the Greater London Authority’s housing committee yesterday throws new light on the issue as it shows tenants may display a lack of appetite to move even if given the option.
Skeete said; “At Peabody we have got just over a thousand households who are impacted by the bedroom tax. Interestingly, less than fifty of them are interested in downsizing. At present, the majority are intending to make up the shortfall, and so far, some of them are able to do that”.
The bedroom tax is failing to solve overcrowding for Peabody’s tenants because the policy is not freeing up extra homes, she added.
“In terms of how that has impacted on our efforts to address overcrowding, because there is such low appetite to move, the opportunities that I think were assumed would be there in terms of freeing up homes to enable us to make those available for overcrowded households, those opportunities haven’t really been forthcoming.” She said.
However, Ms Skeete said the situation might change in the long run as tenants find it more and more difficult to make up the extra rent.
“I think the issue is whether we can sustain that in the longer term,” she said.