The amount of rent owed by council tenants has gone up £222,000 following the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’.
Council housing bosses in Wolverhampton revealed they are chasing £1,603,493 compared with £1,381,551 they were owed at the same time last year. They said they were now starting proceedings in court to recoup money from three people.
Nationally, the number of council tenants in arrears went up 21 per cent between March and June.
The ‘bedroom tax’ came into force in April and removes 14 or 25 per cent of housing benefit from council or social housing tenants with one or more spare rooms. The aim is to encourage people to move to smaller properties, freeing up bigger ones for families.
But councils say there is a shortage of smaller homes meaning people have no choice but to stay put and pay more rent.
Wolverhampton Homes, the company which manages more than 23,000 council houses for the council, said some people were struggling to make payments and that they risked losing their homes. But it said it still collected £91m in rent last year, more than 98 per cent of what was owed.
Mark Henderson, director of housing at Wolverhampton Homes said: “People are really struggling – not just in Wolverhampton, but across the whole country.”