Mum's 'Catch-22 stand-off' with Bolton at Home over 'bedroom tax' money
A MUM says she is caught in spiralling debt and facing eviction due to a "Catch-22" stand-off with Bolton At Home.
Natasha Stanton, aged 23, owes about £800 to the social housing landlord through rent arrears and the under-occupancy charge, which has been dubbed the "bedroom tax".
Her five-year-old son, Calvin, stays with her three nights a week.
Miss Stanton said she’s desperate to move away from her home in Mardale Drive, Breightmet, to a one-bedroom flat — but has been told by Bolton At Home that she cannot move until she’s paid what she owes them.
The aspiring youth worker said her problems first started a year ago, when the only work she could find was as a carer on a zero-hour contract.
Bolton At Home took her to court last year for not paying her rent, and she now pays an extra £25 a month towards her debts.
In her desperation, she has also turned to pay-day loan companies to borrow about £1,000.
Miss Stanton said: “I’m trying to make something of myself — I want to work, I want to pay my rent but I’m not getting any help.
“When I was on a zero-hour contract some weeks I couldn’t get any hours, but they still expected me to pay about £100 in rent, plus council tax and everything else.
“Now, it’s a vicious cycle. I’m off work now with depression, the stress is too much.
“If it wasn’t for my son I don’t know what I’d do.”
A spokesman for Bolton at Home said that it has contacted Miss Stanton through its dedicated debt and money advice service to offer her support about the bedroom tax.
He added: “Ms Stanton has registered for our downsizing service and her application has been prioritised on a number of occasions, but we have been unable to proceed with a move to an alternative property due to her rent arrears.
"Any decision to allow such a move looks at a number of factors, including whether the tenant has shown an ongoing commitment to reduce any rent arrears.
“We can assure Ms Stanton that while she continues to pay her rent she is not under risk of eviction, and we will continue to try to work with her to reduce her rent arrears.
“Furthermore, our free Debt and Money Advice Service is available to Ms Stanton to provide her with advice on lower cost loans as an alternative to her seeking payday loans.”
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