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.
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.
Coastline said there was no imminent threat of eviction.
The so-called bedroom tax - otherwise known as the under-occupancy charge - is hitting the most vulnerable people in society, according to a councillor in Stroud.
It was introduced to try to free up under-occupied properties for families but campaigners say it should be scrapped. The Green party in Stroud says that the bedroom tax is hitting the wrong people.
The MP for St Ives wants to change the "bedroom tax". Andrew George says it shouldn't apply those with medical reasons or no alternative.Read the full story ›
Houses in Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) have seen a greater reduction in housing benefit than those in any other South West region, according to figures from the National Housing Federation:
- BANES: average loss of £895.82 per year
- South Gloucestershire: £859.15
- Wiltshire: £829.21
- South Somerset: £780.15
- Swindon: £777.32
- Gloucester: £776.05
- North Somerset: £775.67
- Bristol: £768.95
The 'tax' - actually a reduction in housing benefit for families with spare bedrooms - was introduced in April 2013.
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
People in towns and cities across the West Country gave up part of their Easter weekend to protest against the so-called, "bedroom tax" which takes effect next week.
Under the Government rules, more than half a million social housing tenants, deemed to have a spare bedroom, will have their benefits cut.
Wesley Smith reports:
A group of people will be gathering on College Green, Bristol, this lunchtime to protest against the forthcoming 'bedroom tax'. Protests will also take place in Salisbury, Stroud and Cirencester.
Under the new rules about to be introduced, social housing tenants deemed to have too many bedrooms will see their housing benefit reduced.