Bedroom Tax FAQ
Click on the headings below to find out more about the Benefit changes.
*PLEASE NOTE: The Bedroom Tax is just one of the changes made to benefits in April 2013. Depending on your circumstances, you may still be affected by these changes such as the Household Benefits Cap. Find out more about these changes in our Welfare Reform hub.
What does Bedroom Tax mean?
From April 2013 there were some changes made to Housing Benefit payments that affected customers who have more bedrooms than they need.
The previous Welfare Reform Act of 2012 had a set of rules called the bedroom standard which assessed how many bedrooms each household needed.
Now you will only be able to claim Housing Benefit for the number of bedrooms that the Department for Work & Pensions says that you need for your household.
If you have 1 or more bedrooms than you need, your Housing Benefit entitlement will be reduced by 14% for one room and by 25% for 2 or more bedrooms.
When did it start?
What are the rules?
Children of both sexes under 10 would be expected to share a bedroom.
Children of the same sex under 16 would be expected to share a bedroom.
Each adult or couple would have their own bedroom.
No extra rooms will be allowed for visitors - this includes a child coming to stay with a parent that they do not normally live with.
Only one parent can have the room allowance for the child, even where they share access to the child.
No extra rooms will be allowed for medical reasons, for example where a couple need separate rooms because one of them is ill or recovering from an operation.
What does 'working age' mean?
The Government has said Bedroom Tax will only affect tenants of working age below the Pension Credit age. Find out more about the Pension Credit Age by clicking here.
Who will Bedroom tax affect?
You will be affected by bedroom tax if you're of working age and live in a Council or Housing Association home.
Bedroom Tax exemptions
Depending on your circumstances, there may be different exemptions in place which may mean you are not affected by bedroom tax.
You can read these exemptions on our bedroom tax page.
If you are not affected by bedroom tax, you will need to check whether you will be affected by other changes to benefits made in 2013. You can find out more on these changes here.
If you are a Bromford customer and think you will be affected, please make sure you contact us.
How will this affect me?
A couple with two children living in a three bed house
Different sex children:
Girls and boys under 10 are expected to share a bedroom. This means a family in a 3 bedroom house with a boy aged 8 and a girl aged 6 would be assessed as needing a 2 bedroom property, so they would get 14% less Housing Benefit entitlement.
Same sex children:
Children of the same gender are expected to share a bedroom up to the age of 16 years. This means that if you have 2 girls aged 2 and 15 they are expected to share a bedroom. So if you have a 3 bedroom property the rent used to work out your Housing Benefit entitlement will be cut by 14%.
A couple or a single person in a home with two or more bedrooms
This couple or single person will see their housing benefit reduced by 14% for one bedroom more than they need and 25% for 2 bedrooms or more
What if my children don't live with me all the time, but stay over for visits?
If you are not the main carer of the children you will not be allowed an extra bedroom unless you pay 14% of your housing benefit entitlement to keep the extra room.
What is classed as a bedroom?
When you moved into your home, you will have signed a tenancy agreement. Your tenancy agreement defines how many bedrooms your home has. This is the information your Benefits Office have used to determine whether you are ‘under occupying’ in line with the new rules. The size criteria used for Bedroom Tax assumes that either a couple or two children (unless the children are of different sexes and one of them is over 10) can occupy one bedroom.
We have received enquiries regarding the potential re-classification of properties as a result of small bedroom sizes. This has been based on social media coverage which has been misleading and is an inaccurate interpretation of housing legislation.
The incorrect information refers to room sizes set out in Section 326 of the Housing Act 1985. The standard room sizes explained in the Act are designed to help local authorities establish whether homes are overcrowded or not. The Act states that both bedrooms and living rooms will be considered available for sleeping in when deciding whether or not a property is overcrowded.
The Welfare Reform regulations established for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit are different. The criteria used to decide whether the Under Occupation Charge applies or not is dependent on the number of bedrooms in a property not the size of the bedroom. If you have a bedroom that the government considers you do not need, regardless of its size, the Under Occupation charges will still apply.
We are unlikely to be re-classifying the number of bedrooms in a property based on their size. If, however, you genuinely feel that you have a room which could not be occupied by even one person we will arrange for your bedroom to be looked at. To do this, contact us.
If my housing benefit is reduced what do I need to do?
You will need to pay the difference between the benefit you are given and your rent if you stay in your existing home.
Can I have a lodger use the extra bedroom?
Take a look at our Taking a lodger page for details.
Get prepared for Bedroom Tax
Need further support? You may want to check your bedroom entitlement.
If you are affected, you could move to a smaller property:
Register with a Choice Based Lettings Scheme in your local authority area.
Register to exchange your home with another customer.
Contact us to see if we can advise about finding a smaller home firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help with your money
Find out more information on financial support and advice.
Find out ways you can make your money go further with our money saving tips.
Set up a budger planner. You can find out how to do this through the Money Advice Service.
You might be entitled to a Discretionary Housing Payment. To find out more, speak to your local authority.
Find out more about your Benefits and to get help and support from the Benefits advisor service
Citizens Advice provide a video to give you more information:
Other places to get support:
National debt line
Jobcentre Plus: 0800 055 6688
Government information line: 0845 605 7064
If you are having problems paying your rent please call us on 0330 1234 034