Bedroom tax

The bedroom tax is also known as the under-occupancy charge or spare room subsidy.

You will receive less in Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit if you live in a housing association or council property and you have one or more spare bedrooms. 

If you have one spare room, then a 14% reduction is applied to your benefit. 

If you have 2 or more spare bedrooms then this is a 25% reduction in benefit. 

You will not be affected if: 

  • you live in a one-bedroom flat or bedsit 

  • you or your partner are old enough to receive pension credits 

  • your spare room is used by students or members of the armed or reserve forces who are away and intend to return home 

The following are expected to share a bedroom: 

  • an adult couple 

  • 2 children under 10 regardless of sex 

  • 2 children under 16 of the same sex 

The 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 

The following can have their own bedroom: 

  • a single adult (aged 16 or over) 

  • a child that would normally share but shared bedrooms are already taken, for example you have 3 children and 2 already share 

  • children who are unable to share due to severe disabilities 

  • a carer (or team of carers) who do not live with you but provide overnight care 

One spare bedroom is allowed for: 

  • an approved foster carer who is between placements but only up to 52 weeks from the end of the last placement 

  • a newly approved foster carer up to 52 weeks from the date of approval if no child is placed with them during that time