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Family 'threatened with eviction' for not paying bedroom tax on toilet

A Cornwall father who converted a bedroom into a toilet to help his seriously ill son says his family have been threatened with eviction for refusing to pay the bedroom tax on it.

Mike Paddington had permission to convert the bedroom after his 33-year-old son, who has been severely disabled since he was a baby, contracted a life-threatening illness last year.

He installed the separate toilet and wash basin for his son's carers and the rest of the family to reduce the risk of infection, in accordance with the law.

However his Cornish housing association landlords say the toilet should still be classed as a bedroom - leaving the family liable for an extra £700 in rent a year.

Coastline Housing Association said they agreed to the conversion but added in a statement:

Where a reasonable request is made for an adaptation to a property by a customer, such as adding a toilet and sink to a room, making it similar to an en-suite, Coastline would usually approve this, but it will not affect either the number of bedrooms or the rent.

– Coastline Housing Association

Mike claims a Coastline representative said they would take drastic action if he didn't pay the tax.

He said what we're going to do is send you an eviction order to evict you.

– Mike Paddington

Coastline said there was no imminent threat of eviction.

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1000s of South West households paying bedroom tax

New figures from the National Housing Federation show that thousands of South West households are paying the 'bedroom tax' - a reduction in housing benefit for families with spare bedrooms. It was in introduced in April 2013.

  • Cornwall - 2826 households have seen a loss in housing benefit, totalling £768.95 on average
  • Plymouth - 1943 households, with an average loss of £710.75

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'Bedroom tax' protest in Exeter

A protest rally is due to take place in Exeter this afternoon against new rules which leave people claiming housing benefits facing deductions for spare rooms.

The so-called 'bedroom tax' means that from April, tenants face a 14 per cent reduction in benefits if they have one spare bedroom and a 25 per cent reduction if they have two.

The National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, estimates that more than 800 households in Exeter will be affected by the rules. This afternoon's protest is due to take place at 1pm in Bedford Square. It's part of a nationwide day of action in 60 towns and cities.

Full report: Growing concern about 'bedroom tax'

There's growing concern amongst people living in social housing in the south west that the so-called bedroom tax will force them to leave their homes.

Under new welfare reforms, from April housing benefit will be cut for people living in houses with spare rooms. The aim is to free up space for people living in over crowded homes. But the rules have been condemned by some of those it's going to affect. Claire Manning reports.