Landlord group Community Housing Cymru (CHC) has claimed that hundreds of residences across Wales are remaining empty due to a lack of tenants to fill larger homes.
Representing more than 70 social landlords, the body has witnessed a growth in rental arrears over recent months and believes that the bedroom tax could be to blame.
Introduced in April, the bedroom tax relates to individuals claiming housing benefit for their council or housing association homes. It states that anyone residing in a property that has more bedrooms than it's deemed they require will see a reduction in the amount of rental support they receive.
CHC chief executive Nick Bennett argued that 78 per cent of the organisation's members have seen an increase in rental arrears since the introduction of the bedroom tax.
Of this figure, just over half (51 per cent) are now paying off the shortfall in their rent, 37 per cent are paying in part and 12 per cent are not making up these arrears at all.
"We anticipate that the number of tenants struggling to pay their rent will only increase and we can expect 'bedroom tax' arrears to double to over £2 million by April next year," Mr Bennett commented.
"The rise in void properties has meant that over 700 homes in the sector are increasingly hard to let, with many remaining empty."
He added that just three per cent of the approximate 22,000 residents affected by the bedroom tax across Wales have so far been relocated to more appropriate homes, meaning that there are a great many individuals still struggling to make payments on their property.
With many groups campaigning for the introduction of a 'no bedroom tax evictions' policy over recent months, it appears likely that those suffering from financial hardship will not be left without a roof over their head.
However, Mr Bennett noted that housing associations and social landlords cannot continue to subsidise this shortfall in payments and it's therefore a key area of concern that needs to be addressed in the near future.
Published on: November 25, 2013