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Under occupying your home

If you have at least one spare bedroom you must read this.

Housing Benefit is now restricted to only allow payments for one bedroom for each person or couple in your home. If you have a spare bedroom you will be ‘under occupying’ and Housing Benefit will no longer pay for the spare room. You might have heard it being called 'bedroom tax', but, to be clear, this isn't an extra payment to make, it means less benefit.

You will have to make up the shortfall yourself.

Who is affected?

This only applies to people of working age.

Housing Benefit rules allow:

  • One bedroom for each adult or couple living as part of the household. This means a couple is expected to need one bedroom and two adults who are not a couple to need two bedrooms.
  • A child under the age of 16 is expected to share with another child of the same gender, while children under ten are expected to share with another child regardless of gender.
  • A bedroom for a non resident carer is allowed where they provide overnight care to a person with a disability.

Exceptions will not be made for the following:

  • Separated parents who share the care of their children
  • Couples who use the spare room when recovering from an illness or operation.
  • Foster children
  • Parents whose children visit but are not part of the household.
  • Families with disabled children
  • Disabled people including people living in adapted or specially designed properties

What will happen?

If your home is under-occupied, your benefits will be reduced and you will receive less money.

How much will I lose?

The Government has said this will be a 14% cut for one extra bedroom and a 25% cut for two or more extra bedrooms.

So, if your rent is £70 per week and you have one spare bedroom, this means you will have to pay an extra £9.80 per week to make up the shortfall. If you have two spare bedrooms, you will have to pay around £17.50 per week.

Get advice today as failure to pay your rent could result in you losing your home.