Under-OccupationDo you have a spare bedroom? As of April 2013 the Government made changes to Housing Benefit which affect anyone of working age living in social housing.

Bedroom Tax – what is it?

Bedroom tax affects those of working age, living in accommodation with, what the Government deems, a ‘spare room’.

From April 2013 Housing Benefit was reduced to allow just 1 bedroom for each individual or couple that lives in the home, with the following variations:

  • Children under 16 of the same sex are expected to share
  • Children under 10 are expected to share regardless of sex
  • A disabled tenant or partner who needs a non-resident overnight carer will be allowed an extra room.

There are no discounts for how small the room is, so even if you can’t fit 2 children into the room you will still lose some of your Housing Benefit entitlement. 

If you have 1 empty bedroom you will receive 14% less Housing Benefit. If you have 2 or more empty bedrooms you will receive 25% less Housing Benefit.

Even if you only receive a small amount of Housing Benefit, Bedroom Tax affects you!

The benefit cap sets a limit on the amount of benefits that most working aged people can claim. On the 7 November, the amount you can claim, including Housing Benefits, reduced to £384.62 per week if you live outside London. 

Most people who receive more than this in benefit will have their Housing Benefit entitlement reduced to take their income below the benefit cap.

If you are affected, your Housing Benefit might change and you may have to make a bigger contribution towards your rent.  In some circumstances, you might be responsible for paying all of your rent from your remaining benefits. 

This means you will have to pay RFH the shortfall to make up your rent, or your home could be at risk.

What does this mean?

  • If you are a single person or a couple living on your own in a home with 2 bedrooms you will receive 14% less Housing Benefit. If you live in a 3 bedroom property you will receive 25% less.
  • If you are a single parent or a couple living in a 3 bedroom home with 2 girls or 2 boys under 16 you will receive 14% less Housing Benefit. If you live in a 4 bedroom home you will receive 25% less.
  • If you are a single parent or a couple living in a 3 bedroom home with a boy and a girl under 10 you will receive 14% less Housing Benefit. If you live in a 4 bedroom home the cut will be 25%.

Understandably, people are concerned and will want advice on how to manage on less money or want to look at other options; for example how to make up the drop in income or want to move.

Come and talk to us. We have lots of ideas and advice and can guide you through your future options. This could include:

  • Budgeting Advice, in order for you to stay and pay
  • Advice on taking in a lodger
  • Advice on seeking work or learning new skills
  • Advice regarding swapping to a smaller home
  • Advice if you think you need to move to a smaller home

Would you consider downsizing?

Click here to read our Downsizing page.

Costs associated with moving

RFH is able to provide advice and support and may also be able to help with some of the costs involved. You may also be able to get some help through Discretionary Housing Payments.

Remember, failing to pay your rent could put your tenancy at risk and result in your eviction.

The new rules do not apply to tenants over the age of 61.

If you would like to discuss any of the above please contact your Housing Officer.