Under-occupancy for social housing tenants
If you rent your home from the council, a housing association or a registered social landlord, we may have to restrict your Housing Benefit if you are of working age and you have more bedrooms than the Government say you need.
You will be allowed one bedroom for:
- Each adult couple
- Any other person aged 16 or over
- Two children of the same sex under the age of 16
- Two children under the age of 10 regardless of their sex
- Any other child
- If you or your partner need overnight care
- A carer (who does not normally live with you)
- A severely disabled child when it is inappropriate for them to share a bedroom
- An empty room expected to be used by a foster child for whom you will provide foster care
- A room left empty by an adult child serving in the Armed Forces while they are “away on operations”
These rules will apply even if:
- You and your partner need to sleep apart because of a medical condition
- The main residence of your children is another address, but you have a spare room for when they stay with you
If you have one 'spare' bedroom we will reduce the maximum amount of Housing Beneﬁt you can get by 14 percent of the rent you pay each week.
If you have two or more 'spare' bedrooms, we will reduce the maximum Housing Benefit you can get by 25 percent.
For example, if you have 2 spare bedrooms and your weekly rent is £100 and your Housing Benefit is £30 a week, we must cut your Housing Benefit by £25. This means you will get Housing Benefit of £5 a week and you must pay £95 towards your rent.
We will not apply a restriction for the following people:
- Those over working-age or with a partner over that age
- Disabled people in “supported exempt” accommodation. This is accommodation provided by a county council, housing association, registered charity or voluntary organisation that provides care, support or supervision for the tenant
- Homeless people in temporary accommodation
- Those in shared ownership homes
- Those in “non-mainstream” accommodation, such as mooring charges for house boats and site charges for caravans and mobile homes
- People who are under-occupying because of a death in the household - no restriction for up to 12 months
- People who could previously afford to pay their rent and haven’t claimed Housing Benefit in the last 52 weeks - but they will only be exempt from the restriction for the first 13 weeks of their claim
In joint tenancies, we’ll make a deduction based on the proportion of rent the Housing Benefit claimant has to pay.
If your Housing Benefit does not cover all of your rent and you need more help, you may be able to get some extra help through a Discretionary Housing Payment.