Bedroom tax

Image: man filing in paperwork with a calculatorIf you have a spare bedroom and you are renting a council or housing association property, then your Housing
Benefit may be reduced.

This is sometimes called the ‘Bedroom Tax’, the ‘under-occupation penalty’ or the ‘removal of the spare room subsidy’.
If you are affected, your Housing Benefit (or the housing element of Universal Credit) can be cut by the following percentage:
  • 14% for one extra bedroom

  • 25% for two or more extra bedrooms

What are the exemptions and rules?

You may not be affected if:
  • you have a severely disabled child who requires their own room. In some circumstances a severely disabled child is to be allowed their own bed room - usually if they would seriously disrupt the sleep of another child in the property at night if they were to share a room. 

  • you are a foster carer, as long as you have fostered a child or have become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months, if so you will be allocated an extra spare room. If you are affected by the Bedroom Tax and have more than one foster child you will be able to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment. Foster carers will also be exempt whether a child has been placed with you or not or you are between placements.

  • you have an adult child who is serving in the armed forces who is away on duty. They will be deemed as still living at home and therefore allocated a bedroom whilst away on operations. 

  • you have an adult child who is living in barracks as part of pre-deployment training, they may not be affected.

  • an adult child is living in barracks but they are not on duty they will not be deemed as living in the home and you will be affected by Bedroom Tax.

  • you have a spare room for the use of an overnight carer - you will be affected by bedroom tax if the spare room is only used by carers or for medical reasons during the day.

  • If you feel that any of these exemptions apply to you, or for more information please contact us and a member of the team will be able to guide you through the process.


What is a spare room?

There are a number of different rules about what counts as a spare bedroom:
  • Children of both sexes under 10 would be expected to share a bedroom. If they currently do not share and they remain in separate rooms, one of their rooms will be considered as a spare bedroom.

  • Children of the same gender under 16 would be expected to share a bedroom.

  • If a bedroom (with or without furniture) is kept free for when a child comes to stay with a parent that they do not normally live with, this room will be considered as a spare bedroom.

  • Extra bedrooms for medical reasons will not be allowed and will still be affected by the rules of Bedroom Tax e.g. a couple using separate bedrooms because one of them is ill or recovering from an operation.

How we can help:

We're passionate about helping our customers to save money. And there are a number of ways we can help, including offering support on:
  • The best way to budget
  • How to open a bank account
  • How to claim benefits and understand the welfare benefit reforms
  • Top tips to reduce the cost of your bills
  • Grants and schemes you may be eligible for.


Contact us today to find out how we can help - simply use the form below to get started.  You can also contact us in a number of other ways to find out more information about how we can help.
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