The ‘bedroom tax’ is a cut in Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit (UC). The bedroom tax applies if you are:
- of working age
- a council or housing association tenant
- classed as having a spare bedroom
The bedroom tax is also known as the under-occupancy charge, the social rented sector size criteria or removal of the spare room subsidy.
Who is entitled to a bedroom?
- A single person or couple
- One child who is resident and part of the household
- Any 2 children of opposite genders under 10 years old
- Any 2 children of the same gender under 16 years old
- Any other resident over 16 (including the resident’s family)
- A foster child/foster children (only one extra bedroom is allowed, and the spare room must be set aside for this. Foster carers must be approved)
- An adult child who is temporarily absent from their home (temporarily absent could mean that the non-dependant is studying elsewhere or in the Armed Forces, but their home remains that of the claimant and they do not have a liability to pay rent elsewhere.)
- A disabled child who is not reasonably able to share a bedroom with another child and is entitled to DLA Care Middle or High rate. Medical evidence may be required.
- A carer who provides overnight care to the claimant, partner, non-dependant or dependent child. The carer must be non-resident and a spare bedroom must be specifically available for them to provide the overnight care. The claimant, partner, non-dependant or dependent child must be in receipt of DLA middle or high-rate care, PIP Daily Living, Attendance Allowance or Armed Forces Independence Payment. Discretion may be used if medical evidence from a GP is supplied but one of these benefits has not been awarded.
- A couple who cannot share a bedroom due to disabilities. One member of the couple must be in receipt of DLA Care Middle or High rate, PIP Daily Living, Attendance Allowance or Armed Forces Independence Payment.
How much benefit is cut?
The ‘bedroom tax’ reduces the amount of rent that can be covered by Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit by:
- 14% for 1 spare bedroom
- 25% for 2 or more spare bedrooms
For example, if your rent is £100 a week, you will only receive Housing Benefit or the housing costs element in UC of:
- £86 if you have 1 spare room
- £75 if you have 2 or more spare bedrooms
What are your options?
- Check if you have been allowed enough bedrooms under the above rules. If you are not sure, please contact Matt O’Brien on 01603 750208 or email email@example.com
- You could move to smaller property with fewer bedrooms. Contact your local council’s housing options team. They will advise you about your opportunities to move.
- You could exchange your property with another person living in social housing, who currently lives in a smaller home and is looking to move to a larger property.
- You may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP ). This is an extra payment, paid by the council, if you are struggling to pay rent. You can apply if you already get:
– Housing Benefit
– Universal Credit housing element
If you choose to stay in your home, you will be responsible for paying any difference between your Housing Benefit and rent. If you do not pay this, you will be in breach of your tenancy agreement and may face legal action.