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What is the bedroom tax and who is affected?

The impact of the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy or Bedroom Tax.

If you are a working age tenant who lives in a WDH property, the amount of financial support you may receive towards your housing costs will be reduced if you have more bedrooms than your family needs.

This is called the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy, which is also known as the ‘Bedroom Tax’. 

Who the bedroom tax will affect

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decides if you are under occupying your property and therefore affected by the bedroom tax.

If you are over state pension age you will not be affected by the bedroom tax.

The DWP’s rules say you are entitled to one bedroom for:

  • each couple;
  • each adult (16 years and over);
  • two children of the same sex under 16 years; and,
  • two children of different sex under 10 years.

The following table gives some examples of bedroom tax composition.

Household composition Bedrooms
Couple with one child 2
Single parent with a girl age 6 and a boy age 8 2
Couple with a girl age 6 and a boy age 12 3
Single parent with a boy age 17 and a boy age 12 3
Couple with girls age 17 and 14 and a boy age 9 4

It is important that you update the details on your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit claim so that your circumstances are correct when you are assessed.

How much financial support will you lose.

Depending on your individual circumstances you could lose some or all of your Housing Benefit / Housing Element as a result of the Bedroom Tax.

  • If you are under occupying by one bedroom your Housing Benefit / Element will be reduced by 14% of your rent amount.
  • If you are under occupying by two or more bedrooms your Housing Benefit / Element will be reduced by 25% of your rent amount.

It is your responsibility to make up this shortfall and pay your rent in full.

If you need further information visit the GOV.UK website or the Housing Benefit pages on your local authority website.

Your housing options

If you are affected by the Bedroom Tax, you will not necessarily have to move, but, you may want to move to a smaller property.

Either way, you have options.

Option 1: Stay in your current home and make up the shortfall in your rent.

  • You could cover the shortfall from your other personal income.  We can help you with budgeting and debt advice.
  • You could try to find work or increase your hours.  We can offer tenants employment support through our Work Clubs contact one of our Community Employment Advisor's if you would like help looking and applying for a job.
  • You could take in a lodger or another family member. You need to think very carefully about sharing your home with someone else and you must obtain our permission before you do this.  The lodger’s income may affect your Housing Benefit claim and you may have to collect rent from them.

 Option 2: Move to a smaller home

  • You can apply for a mutual exchange. A national home exchange provider where you can swap Council and Housing Association homes. For more information read our factsheet WDH Mutual Exchange. To register and look for exchanges visit the House Exchange website.
  • You can apply for a move through Homesearch.  Once registered you can express interest in WDH properties that are advertised each week.

Support Available

You may be able to claim Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the shortfall if you receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (Housing Element).  Discretionary Housing Payment can help if you are affected by:

  • The benefit cap; 
  • the bedroom tax; or
  • have a shortfall in rent

For information and to apply visit GOV.UK Discretionary Housing web pages for further information.

Your personal circumstances and the bedroom tax

We understand that not everyone is the same and some of you will have circumstances you may want to check against the rules for bedroom tax.

If you feel that your personal circumstances should exempt you from the bedroom tax, you should contact the Housing Benefit Service of your local authority (or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) directly if you are claiming Universal Credit) to discuss this further.

Your local authority or the DWP will decide whether your housing related benefit is reduced as a result of the bedroom tax and by how much.



bedroom tax ; government ; extra ; rooms ; bedrooms ; housing ; benefit ; Universal Credit