The Spare Room Subsidy (Bedroom Tax)

The Government’s Under Occupation Penalty means you could receive less Housing Benefit if you have a ‘spare bedroom’. If you want to stay in your home, you will have to make up the difference between the weekly rent you have to pay and the reduction in your housing benefit.

Who will be affected

 You could be affected if:

 You won’t be affected if:

  • You are 16 to 61 years old
  • Even if you only get a small amount of housing benefit
  • Even if you are sick or disabled
  • You live in a 1 bedroom flat



The Government's rules mean you will be allocated one bedroom for:

  • Each adult couple
  • Any other person aged 16 and 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

How can I check the number of bedrooms in my property?

  • When you moved in to your home, your tenancy agreement would have stated the number of bedrooms in your property.
  • Where you think the number of bedrooms in your property is wrong we will assess, on a case by case basis what the true number of bedrooms in your property are.
  • In very exceptional cases we may consider reclassifying your home as a similar property. For example : when the additional bedroom is not self contained – i.e. it provides access to another room, the property has been altered either by us or with our consent resulting in the loss of a useable bedroom or our property records are found to be incorrect.
  • If we take this action we will notify the Housing Benefits department and they will revise your Housing benefits accordingly.
  • Please contact us if you have any queries regarding the number of bedrooms in your property and we can arrange for a Neighbourhood Housing Officer to visit.
  • Tel: 01372814000 or contact us on

It does not matter how the spare bedroom is used, the rules 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 bedroom for when they stay with you

What happens if you have a spare bedroom?

  • If you have one spare bedroom your housing benefit will be cut by 14% of the rent you pay each week
  • If you have two or more spare bedrooms your housing benefit will be cut by 25% of the rent you pay each week


Mr and Mrs Smith live in a two bedroom flat costing £120 a week in rent. At the moment Housing Benefit covers the full cost of their rent. Under the new rules they will have one spare bedroom. Their housing benefit will be reduced by 14% of their rent (14% of £120 = £16.80). Their housing benefit will be reduced by £16.80 to £103.20 per week. Mr and Mrs Smith will have to pay £16.80 per week towards their rent.

Your options if you are affected:

  • Do a benefit check
  • Ask the council for extra financial help (Discretionary Housing Payment)
  • Move to a smaller home
  • Look for employment/ increase your hours
  • Get advice