Under occupancy

Under occupancy - what is it and will it affect me?

Housing benefit reductions for spare bedrooms

In April 2013, the Government introduced size limit rules that affect working age people in receipt of housing benefit. Therefore if you live in a council or housing association home and you have one or more 'spare' bedrooms, your housing benefit may be reduced. This is called 'under occupancy' or may also be known as 'the bedroom tax'.

The rules restrict the size of accommodation you can receive housing benefit for, based on the number of people in your household.

This may affect you:

  • If you live in a council or housing association property
  • If you are aged between 16 and 61 years old (currently classed as 'working age')
  • Even if you get a small amount of benefit and you are working
  • If you are of working age but are sick or disabled

But you won't be affected if:

  • You or your partner receive pension credits
  • You live in a one bedroom flat or bedsit
  • You have a shared ownership property
  • You live in supported exempt accommodation
  • You pay boat mooring charges or caravan site rent
  • You have been placed in temporary accommodation by the council as you are homeless

The government also issued a ministerial announcement stating that foster carers and people with adult children in the Army are allowed an extra room. Find out more about this announcement concerning foster carers and the Armed Forces.

Last updated: 22/03/2017 10:39

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