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Bedroom Tax - The Facts

In April 2013 the Government introduced a tax on spare bedrooms for people living in housing association houses / property - will you be affected? Find out below...

What is Bedroom Tax?

Bedroom Tax (also known as under occupancy charge) is a change to Housing Benefit Entitlement that means you will receive less in housing benefit if you live in a housing association or council property that is deemed to have one or more spare bedrooms.

Having one spare bedroom will mean you will lose 14% of your entitled housing benefit.

Having two or more spare bedrooms will mean you will lose 25% of your entitlement.

This new tax started affecting properties with spare bedrooms in April 2013.

Who will 'Bedroom Tax' affect?

You will be affected by the tax if you receive housing benefit and are of working age (over 16 but under 61).

Who will Bedroom Tax NOT affect?

The tax will not affect you if you receive a state pension or rent a shared ownership property. You can check your state pension age here.

Possible Bedroom Tax Exemptions...

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

If 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 may not be affected if 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 .

You may not be affected if you have continuously claimed housing benefit at the same address from before 1st January 1996.

If you feel that any of these exemptions apply to you, you will need to contact your local authority. You can contact your local authority here.

If they confirm that an exemption applies to you, you will most likely need to write a letter asking for your housing benefit entitlement to be changed. We have a letter template you can use - download this letter here

What are the Bedroom Tax rules?

There are a number of different rules about what counts as a taxable spare bed room:

  • 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.
  • Couples and adults are entitled to have bedrooms of their own.
  • 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.
  • Bedroom Tax allowance for a child can only be claimed by one parent, even where they share access to the child.
  • Extra bedrooms for medical reasons will not be allowed and will still be taxable e.g. a couple using separate bedrooms because one of them is ill or recovering from an operation.

What is classed as a Bedroom?

To find out the definitions of a bedroom, see our FAQs

How can I see if I'm affected?

Bedroom Tax calculator - How much is Bedroom Tax? Use this calculator to see if the tax will affect you and how much you could lose.

Bedroom Tax FAQ's - Find out more about the in's and out's of bedroom tax including what is classed as a Bedroom with our FAQ's

Read our Bedroom Tax Case Studies

What is my next step?

If you are going to be affected by Bedroom Tax, you have three options:

Managing your money

We have a host of advice and information to help you with managing your finances. This includes budget planners, getting help with debt, customer offers and money saving tips.

To find out more, click here