Under occupancy rules for Housing Benefit

If you're working age and claim Housing Benefit, you may lose part of this if your home has more bedrooms than you need. This is called the under occupancy charge, or bedroom tax.

It applies if you rent your home from a:

  • council
  • housing organisation
  • other registered social landlord

How many bedrooms you're entitled to

The benefit size criteria allows one bedroom for:

  • each adult couple (same or opposite sex)
  • any other person aged 16 or over
  • any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • any two children under the age of 10 regardless of their sex
  • any other child

You can't claim Housing Benefit for rooms that are used for any children visiting a divorced or separated parent.

How your benefit will be reduced

If you have more bedrooms than you need, your benefit will be reduced by:

  • 14% if you have one spare bedroom
  • 25% if you have two or more spare bedrooms

Additional bedrooms

You may be allowed an additional bedroom under certain circumstances.

For a carer

If you or your partner need regular overnight care from someone who doesn't normally live with you, you may be allowed an extra bedroom. Fill in our online form to apply.

Due to a disability

You may be allowed an additional bedroom if:

  • you have a child or children with severe disabilities and they're unable to share a bedroom.

  • you and your partner need to sleep apart because of a physical disability, and there isn't enough space for two single beds. A further qualifying test will be that one of you receives:
    • the middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
    • higher rate Attendance Allowance
    • the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
    • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

Fill in our online form to apply.

Other reasons

Other reasons you may be allowed an additional bedroom are if:

  • you foster a child or have become a foster carer in the last 12 months. (Contact us online to request a spare room, explaining your circumstances.)
  • you have adult children serving in the armed forces (as long as they intend to return to live with you).

If you rent from a private landlord

If you rent your home from a private landlord, the Local Housing Allowance rates in your area are used to work out how much Housing Benefit you’ll receive for the number of bedrooms you have.

Extra help to pay your rent

If you can’t afford to pay your rent because your benefit's been reduced, and you’re not able to move, you may be able to apply for extra help to pay your rent (Discretionary Housing Payment).