Bedroom tax breached human rights of disabled woman, judge rules

Published: October 4, 2013

A woman from Glasgow has won an appeal against a bedroom tax decision that would have led to a shortfall in rent of £11 per week, after a judge said that the decision unlawfully discriminated against her and that her flat was fully occupied. The woman, who has Multiple Sclerosis, requires a bedroom of her own due to her disability and cannot share with her husband, who sleeps in another room in the house.

As reported by STV News at a tribunal in Glasgow, Judge Lyndy Boyde found that:

“The appellant’s flat is not larger than she needs. She does not have a spare or extra bedroom. Because of her severe disability she is not able to share a bedroom with her husband and he must have a bedroom of his own. Her flat is not under-occupied.”

Mike Dailly of Glasgow Law Centre said that the decision could be “of great significance to other severely disabled people in similar circumstances”.

Glasgow City Council’s Director of Financial Services, Lynne Brown, recently reported that due to a shortage of one bedroom properties available for rent from social landlords due to the under occupancy rule, increasing use is being made of bed and breakfast accommodation, resulting in additional costs for Social Work Services.

In Fife, according to an Inside Housing report, 4 out of 5 appeals recently brought by Fife Law Centre against Fife Council were upheld, mainly due to the size of the room in question. Space standards in the Housing Act (Scotland) 1987 state a room of between 50 and 70 square feet should only be sufficient for a child under the age of 10. Tenants successfully argued that their “boxrooms” were too small to be considered as bedrooms for adults.

In what The Guardian has described as a landmark case, a Westminster housing association tenant has won an appeal against the imposition of the bedroom tax. The man, who is blind, argued that the room deemed to be a second bedroom and never been used as such and had always been used to store equipment for his disability. The Judge, agreeing, found that : “The term ‘bedroom’ is nowhere defined [in the relevant regulations]. I apply the ordinary English meaning. The room in question cannot be so defined.”

This story was taken from The Herald website here:


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