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Home chevron_right Benefits and support chevron_right Bedroom tax

Bedroom tax (under occupancy)

The bedroom tax reduces the amount of benefit (Universal Credit housing element or Housing Benefit) you get, if you're:

  • working age
  • classed as having a spare bedroom
  • living in a housing association property

How much is it?

If you have 1 spare bedroom, you'll get 14% less benefit.

If you have 2 or more spare bedrooms, you'll get 25% less benefit.

This means you'll get less benefit to pay your rent. You'll need to find the rest of the money yourself.

Who can have a bedroom?

The rules allow one bedroom for:

  • every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • each member of a couple, if they cannot share because of a disability or medical condition
  • any other adult aged 16 or over
  • any 2 children of the same sex aged under 16
  • any 2 children aged under 10
  • any other child (other than a foster child or child whose main home is elsewhere)
  • children who cannot share because of a disability or medical condition
  • a carer (or team of carers) providing overnight care

One spare bedroom is allowed for:

  • an approved foster carer who is between placements, but only for up to 52 weeks from the end of the last placement
  • a newly approved foster carer for up to 52 weeks from the date of approval if no child is placed with them during that time

Rooms used by students and members of the armed or reserve forces do not count as 'spare' if they’re away and intend to return home.

People who have recently suffered a bereavement in their household may also be entitled to additional bedrooms.

What happens if I cannot pay?

If your Universal Credit or Housing Benefit has been reduced and you cannot afford to pay your rent, contact your housing provider as soon as possible.

You may be able to apply for a discretionary housing payment to help with your rent.