The Bedroom Tax, as it is known, affects the amount of benefit you might receive to pay your rent. If your home is considered to be too big for you, the rent amount used to calculate your benefit will be reduced by:
- 14% if you have one spare bedroom
- 25% if you have two or more spare bedrooms
Remember this is 14% or 25% of the rent, not the Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. For advice, please call our Welfare Team on 0300 304 5000 or email the Welfare Team.
How Many Bedrooms Am I Allowed?
The government has decided that:
- Any single person aged 16 or over needs their own bedroom
- A couple needs a bedroom
- A child needs a bedroom
- A boy and a girl are expected to share a bedroom if they are both under 10
- 2 boys or 2 girls are expected to share if they are both under 16. See below for examples.
- Foster children are not taken into account (but see under special rules below)
- Children who stay with you part of the time aren't taken into account.
But it doesn't affect everybody. You won’t need to pay any more rent for having too many bedrooms if:
- You (or your husband, wife or partner) are Pension Credit age or over and getting Housing Benefit
- You live in a shared ownership property
- You have been placed in a certain type of temporary accommodation
- You live in a particular type of supported housing called exempt accommodation - ask us if you are not sure
- Your Housing Benefit has already been reduced because of a Rent Officer referral.
Special Rules Allowing An Extra Bedroom
You may be allowed an extra room if you have:
- a severely disabled adult or child who needs their own room
- a non-resident carer (if you, your partner, child or non-dependant are disabled and need overnight care)
- a foster child or children
- a child who is away on duty with the Armed Forces but intends to return to live with you
For further information contact us on 0300 304 5000 or email the Welfare Team.
What Can I Do?
If your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit is being reduced by the Bedroom Tax:
- First, check that a Bedroom Tax deduction should apply to you. If you don’t think it should (maybe the local council / DWP have the number of children wrong, or don’t know about your overnight carer) then contact them immediately and let us know – we may be able to help 0300 304 5000 or email the Welfare Team.
- If the Bedroom Tax is being applied correctly and you are getting Housing Benefit or Universal credit, you need to pay the difference in your rent. Otherwise you could lose your home. When this is the case, contact us to find out how much you have to pay. if you are struggling to pay your rent, contact us on 0300 304 5000 immediately.
- If you are having severe difficulties paying your rent, you might be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment. Keep in mind the council’s budget is limited. They will need you to explain your particular difficulties and provide a financial statement showing that you cannot afford the rent that is due. See the section on Discretionary Housing Payments for more information.
Even if the Bedroom Tax should apply to you according to the government’s rules, you might be able to argue successfully to an appeal tribunal that the rules are not being interpreted correctly in your case – contact 0300 304 5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org for help and advice.