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Under-occupancy ('bedroom tax')

Government under-occupancy rules mean you may receive less Housing Benefit if you live in a property which has more bedrooms than you actually need.

If you are:

  • of working age
  • living in accommodation provided by a registered social landlord or a housing association
  • living in accommodation which has more bedrooms than your household needs

then your Housing Benefit will be reduced.

You're entitled to one bedroom for:

  • Every adult couple
  • Any other adult aged 16 or over
  • Any two children of the same sex aged up to 15
  • Any two children (regardless of sex) aged under 10
  • Any other child
  • A non-resident carer (where the claimant or partner requires overnight care)

Foster children living in the property are not included as members of the household.

You can find out the total number of bedrooms that your household is entitled to using the online bedroom entitlement calculator and compare this to the actual number of bedrooms in the property to work out whether you will be under-occupying the property.

If you're under-occupying the property by one bedroom a 14% reduction will be applied to your eligible rent, and for two or more bedrooms a 25% reduction will applied.

This means that if your rent is £80 a week and your household has one spare bedroom, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by £11.20 per week (14% of £80). You'll have to pay the £11.20 a week yourself to make up the shortfall. Two spare bedrooms would mean a £20 per week shortfall to pay.

If you can't pay and go into rent arrears, you should contact your Housing Officer immediately for help and advice.

Find out more about entitlement to Housing Benefit via GOV.UK.

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