Changes to Nottingham tower block flat rules

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High-rise flats in Nottingham will be classified as one-bedroom, even those with two bedrooms, in preparation for changes to housing benefit.

The city currently has 499 one-bedroom flats and 1,019 two-bedroom properties in high rise tower blocks.

From 1 April council tenants deemed to have too much living space will receive a reduced housing payment.

Council papers stated the change would maintain levels of accommodation needed for single people and couples.

'Bedroom tax'

The new rules will affect housing benefit, which is paid to less well-off tenants to help with rent. Typically claimants receive between £50 and £100 a week.

But from April families deemed to have too much living space by their local authorities will receive a reduced payment. Under the government's so-called "size criteria", families will be assessed for the number of bedrooms they actually need - a policy dubbed the "Bedroom Tax" by the Labour Party.

In a proposal put forward by David Liversidge, St Ann's ward councillor and portfolio holder for adults, housing and the community, council papers stated "current demand for non-family accommodation significantly outstrips supply".

"If applicants that would under-occupy were also precluded [from high rises], two-bedroom high rise flats would be extremely difficult to let given the household profile of those seeking accommodation from the council.

"The supply of one-bedroom flats across the stock is limited and turnover is slow. If these tower block flats were no longer available to singles and couples, the housing register would increase as would homelessness."

A well as classifying all the tower block flats as one-bedroom, the council has ruled any rooms that are smaller than 50 sq ft (4.6m sq), will be considered as studies and not bedrooms.

There are currently 12,000 applicants on Nottingham City Council's housing register, 8,000 of whom are single people or couples.

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