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 or the Spare Room Subsidy) 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?
Bedroom Tax will not affect you if you receive a state pension or rent a shared ownership property.
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.
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.
You may not be affected if you have a spare room for the use of an overnight carer
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.
What can I do?
Increase your payments - If you have the money available you can use it to cover the cost of any changes and stay in your current home. The best thing you can do is pay a little extra in order to get in advance on your rent account and build up some savings for other bills. Even small amounts will mount up over the weeks.
Take a lodger - You may be able to earn additional income from a lodger, but remember to check with us first to ensure your tenancy agreement allows it.
Swapandmove - You can swap houses with someone else living in a housing association or council property which has fewer bedrooms, but first you must find someone to swap with. Swapandmove.co.uk is a website that helps you find properties to swap with in your area you want to live in.
Bromford Homeswap - We have created a Facebook page for our customers looking to swap the property they rent. Simply post the type of property you have and the property you are looking for. Make sure you read the guidance notes on how to use the page.
Choice Based Lettings - Your local council may offer a 'Choice Based Lettings' scheme. If you are looking for a new home, rather than a waiting list, properties are now advertised online through a local council or authority. This makes the allocation of properties simpler and more transparent, allowing you to make a choice about where you live.
Find a job – If you want help in getting back into work, training, education or work experience you can contact our Opportunities Team. This team will look into what is available and what they can do to help you move back into the world of work.
Manage your money -If you have any cash concerns you can contact our Money Advice Team. They can provide you with FREE, confidential advice on how to manage your money and clear any debts you have.
To access any of the above services please contact us.