Advice on hand for housing benefit changes

A series of drop in sessions to inform tenants of housing benefit reforms are being held across Edinburgh.

The events, organised by the City of Edinburgh Council , are designed to help tenants who may be facing cash shortfalls due to new under-occupancy changes.

In addition a series of radio adverts are being aired to advise tenants about the changes and directing them to the Council website.

The future planned open days are as follows:

  • Leith/City Centre Neighbourhood: Wednesday 13 March: South Leith Church Hall, 11am to 3pm, Monday 18 March - Cables Wynd House Concierge Office, 6.30 to 8.30pm
  • North Neighbourhood: Weekly surgeries on Wednesdays at the Neighbourhood Office, 8 West Pilton Gardens , 10am to 1pm
  • South Neighbourhood: Drop in surgeries at the Neighbourhood Office, 40 Captain’s Road - phone 0131 529 5151
  • South West Neighbourhood: Wednesday 13 March – Wester Hailes Library, 3pm to 7pm. Tuesday 23 April – Broomhouse One Stop Shop, 3 Broomhouse Market
  • West Neighbourhood: Monday 18 March - Get On’ – Gateway Bus at Drumbrae Hub between 10am to 12.30pm and South Queensferry (Scotmid Store) – 1pm to 3pm; Tuesday 19 March – Corstorphine Library, 10am to 2pm; Wednesday 20 March – Kirkliston Hub 1pm to 4pm; Thursday 21 March – 10am to 2pm, 22 March – Drum Brae Hub, 10am to 2pm
  • East Neighbourhood: Thursday 21 March: Northfield Community Centre, Northfield Road , 1pm to 4pm 

Around 20,000 tenants in the capital have already received letters highlighting the potential financial impact the new rules will have when they come into force across the UK next month.

The biggest effect is going to be on tenants who have spare bedrooms as they will now receive less housing benefit from April. This means they will have to pay the difference to their landlord.

Anyone under occupying will lose 14 % of their total rent due if they have one spare bedroom or 25% of their total rent due for two or more spare bedrooms.

Housing officers from the Council will be on hand to cover areas like paying rent, moving to a smaller home, maximising income and sharing with friends, family members or lodgers.

Councillor Cammy Day, Housing leader for the City of Edinburgh Council , said: “These are very dramatic changes. Tenants need to know just exactly what they will mean to them and the potential financial impact it’s going to have.

“The Council will have housing staff at the drop in sessions who will advise tenants on the best financial options open to them. Some tenants could be faced with a 25% reduction in their housing benefit.

“We are advising people to come along to one of these sessions or get in touch with their local housing team now to discuss the various options open to them.”

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