Grieving Family Told Pay Bedroom Tax Or Face Eviction After Death Of Son,11

14/08/2014 16:57 | Updated 20 May 2015

Bedroom tax

A grieving family has been told they will have to pay bedroom tax or move home - as their son's death means they now have a 'spare' bedroom.

In December 2012, Dawn and Adam Chapman's son Caleb died aged 11 after being hit by a car while catching the school bus.

Shortly after the first anniversary of his death, Caleb's family received a letter telling them to move house or face an 'Under Occupation Penalty.' The letter threatened court action should £600 in rent arrears not be paid.

The Chapmans live in a three-bedroom house with their five-year-old son Ashton and two-year-old daughter Eva - so all their bedrooms are occupied. However, welfare reforms have meant that children under the age of 10 are expected to share a room.

"It's not as if the room is not being used anymore, Caleb was sharing with his younger brother," Dawn explained to "I'm like a nervous wreck all the time. We are in turmoil, we have enough going on as it is. I'm anxious all the time. I don't know if people will start banging on my door. We are just having to get on our feet after paying for the funeral, it is money we don't have."

The house in Hayle, Cornwall, has been in Dawn's family since it was built in the sixties, having first been lived in by her nan.

If they were to downsize, the family would face further upheaval when Ashton turns 10, as the current rules mean the children will then require their own rooms. Dawn said: "We've been through so much - the children too - and to uproot and then to have to move again in five years time... the children have been through enough. We all have."

Devon and Cornwall Housing said the family's housing benefit had been reduced by almost £13 a week but said they could not comment on the extra bill because of confidentiality.

"We understand Mrs Chapman's concerns and are committed to assisting all of our residents who are affected by implementation of the government's welfare reforms," a spokesman said.

More on Parentdish

Suggest a correction