Housing: Underoccupancy Charge — Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:22 am on 12 December 2013.

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Photo of Lord Best Lord Best Crossbench 11:22, 12 December 2013

My Lords, will the noble Lord join me in correcting a mistaken view that some have expressed that reducing support for people in council houses and housing association properties who are deemed to have a spare room is only repeating a measure already in place for private sector tenants? Does he agree that the arrangements for private sector tenants are quite different, in that people are given a sum of money—the maximum that they can spend—and are sent out to find a property on the private market, balancing the number of bedrooms against the location and other factors? In particular, a major difference between the two sectors is that in the private rented sector these measures apply only to new and future tenancies and have not been applied retrospectively to people in existing tenancies—namely, the 660,000 people who find themselves covered by a measure that relates to the past and not, as in the private sector, one that relates to future tenancies.