The bedroom tax

In April 2013 a change in Housing Benefit commonly called "the Bedroom Tax” took effect.

The Government introduced size limit rules into Housing Benefit for working age people renting from a local authority, a registered housing association or other registered social landlord.

The new rules restrict the size of accommodation you can receive Housing Benefit for based on the number of people in your household.

These rules allow one bedroom for:

  • every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • any other adult aged 16 or over
  • any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • any two children aged under 10
  • any other child, (other than a child whose main home is elsewhere)*
  • a carer (or team of carers) who do not live with you but provide you or your partner with overnight care
  • a son or daughter in the armed forces who is currently on deployment (at home or abroad)
  • a foster child or children*

(Foster Carers are allowed one extra room, whether or not a child has been placed with them, so long as they have fostered a child or become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months.)

If you are assessed under these rules as having more bedrooms than are necessary for your household you will be considered to be under-occupying that property.

If you are under-occupying there will be a reduction in your Housing Benefit. The amount allowed for rent and any service charges will be reduced by:

  • 14% for under-occupancy by 1 bedroom
  • 25% for under-occupancy by 2 bedrooms or more.

If you are thinking of moving you need to consider these changes before renewing or making a new tenancy agreement.

You may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment to make up all or some of the reduction – ask the Housing Benefit office about this.

Please contact us straight away if your circumstances change. Your housing benefit could be affected.