Under-occupancy for social housing tenants

The Government has set rules on the number of bedrooms for people who rent a home from us, a housing association or a registered social landlord. This can make a difference to your housing benefit.

You will be allowed one bedroom for:

  • each adult couple
  • anyone over the age of 16
  • two children of the same sex under 16
  • two children under 10 whether boy or girl
  • 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 would be wrong for them to share a bedroom
  • an empty room expected to be used by a child you are fostering
  • 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 for medical reasons
  • your child lives somewhere else but you have a spare room for when they stay with you

If you have one 'spare' bedroom we will cut your maximum housing benefit by 14% of the rent you pay each week.

If you have two or more 'spare' bedrooms, we will reduce it by 25%.

There are people who would not be affected including:

  • those of state pension credit age or with a partner of that age
  • disabled people in a home 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

If your housing benefit does not cover all your rent and you need more help, you might want to consider a discretionary housing payment.