Campaigners lobby housing association in Brent over ‘bedroom tax’ letters to tenants

Members of BHA outside Network Stadium Housing offices

Members of BHA outside Network Stadium Housing offices - Credit: Archant

Brent Housing Group claims correspondence from Network Stadium Housing was confrontational and misleading

A housing association has been accused of sending threatening letters to tenants claiming they could be evicted due to the controversial bedroom tax.

The correspondence from Network Stadium Housing has been slammed by critics who claim it was confrontational and was sent to residents who were exempt from the changes.

Members of campaign group Brent Housing Action (BHA) have labelled the letter “threatening” and was claimed it was sent to a number of residents who were exempt including pensioners causing “a great deal of distress.”

In response, they gathered outside Network Stadium’s Wembley offices this morning, before presenting company bosses with a letter of their own.

The letter, which was written in the same style with a red warning sign, says: “Important notice, your benefits advice is rubbish.”

Making reference to government’s guidelines on the benefit changes it says: “At no point in this document does it suggest harassing and threatening your tenants by visually reproducing a misleading “final bill” style letter.”

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Robin Sivapalan of BHA told the Times that Network Stadium’s representative listened to their objections.

He added: “We will be sitting down with Network Stadium to discuss ways forward later this week. We think all social landlords who operate in Brent should follow the example of Knowsley Housing Trust in reclassifying homes in order that they do not qualify for the bedroom tax and also adopt a “no evictions” policy.”

Mary Larbie, Director of Operations for Network Stadium said: “Like all other social landlords, we understand that this is a difficult time for all those affected by the changes and we are working with institutions to ensure the right advice is given to those in need and when they need it.

“We will continue to work as closely as possible with our residents to help them with the welfare reforms and would welcome any feedback on how we can continue to support our residents.”

Introduced on April 1 the so called “bedroom tax” will see anyone living in social housing who is in receipt of housing benefit face a reduction in what they receive if they are deemed to have one or more spare bedrooms.

If a tenant has one spare room, their benefit is cut by 14 per cent but this is increased to 25 per cent if they have two or more.

An estimated 2,400 residents in Brent will be affected by the changes.

Severely disabled children who need their own room are exempt as are families with children in the army, foster carers and pensioners.