Rules were introduced in April 2013 for working age people who rent their home from the Council or a social landlord and have spare bedrooms, more commonly known as the 'bedroom tax'.
These rules mean that your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit may be reduced if your home has more bedrooms than your household needs. If you have one extra bedroom, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit may be reduced by 14% and if you have two or more extra bedrooms, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit may be reduced by 25%.
We will deduct the relevant amount from your benefit if your home has more bedrooms than the government says you need in your circumstances. You are allowed one bedroom for each of the following living in your home:
There a few exemptions to these rules. Even if you use your 'spare' bedroom for visiting relatives or medical conditions, your housing benefit will still be reduced.
Look at your household budget and see how the reduction in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will affect your finances. Try to cut back to see whether the drop in your income is manageable. For some people, getting a job or increasing their working hours may be a sensible option. As a result, you may be able to pay the extra amount of rent yourself.
Other adults or grown up children living with you may be able to contribute, or contribute more towards your bills.
You should discuss this option with your landlord who may be able to help you swap your home for another council or a housing association place, or give you priority for re-housing.
You may be entiled to extra support you're currently not claiming, for example money to help you with costs of a disability. More information can be found by selecting the benefits pages at www.gov.uk
A boarder or lodger living in your spare room would mean the room no longer counts as being 'spare' for housing benefit purposes. You will need to ask your landlord for permission to do this. Remember that income from a lodger may affect your benefits.
See our 'Extra Help' pages for information about this scheme.