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Size Restrictions - Social Rented Sector

The Welfare Reform Act gives the Government the power to introduce new size criteria (also known as 'under-occupation penalty' or 'bedroom tax') for housing benefit claims in the social rented sector. The criteria will mean that any working-age household deemed to be under occupying their home will lose part of their housing benefit from April 2013.

The cut will be a fixed percentage of the housing benefit eligible rent. This will initially be set at a 14% cut for one extra bedroom and a 25% cut for two or more extra bedrooms. Please see the Housing Benefit - Size Restrictions 'Bedroom Tax' Icon for pdf fact sheet [140.93KB] for more information, or visit Gov.UK

GOV.UK Housing Benefit

The general rules are:

  • one room for each adult couple and one for every other adult aged 16 or over,
  • any two children aged under 10 years are expected to share
  • two children of the same gender are expected to share until they are 16
  • another room for any other child not included in the above
  • a bedroom for a carer who lives elsewhere but stays overnight to provide care for the person claiming housing benefit, or their partner.

These are a few exceptions:

  • foster carers are allowed one extra bedroom
  • disabled children may be allowed their own bedroom if they get middle or higher rate Disability Living Allowance care and if there is supporting medical evidence
  • families with an adult away serving in the armed forces may be allowed a bedroom for when they return
  • tenants who have lived in the same property since 1/1/96 and been entitled to housing benefit continuously since then, with limited breaks in specific circumstances, pursuant to paragraph 4(1)(a) of Schedule 3 of the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006. This provision has been removed with effect from 3 March 2014. For more information to see if your tenancy comes within the provisions of paragraph 4(1)(a) of Schedule 3 please see Icon for word guidance bulletin U1 [56.5KB] or contact us for more information.

From the 01 April 2017 additional exceptions were announced:

  • disabled children or disabled non-dependants who require overnight care from a non resident carer
  • a couple who are unable to share a bedroom because of a disability.

For these exceptions the person requiring the extra bedroom should normally be in receipt of the middle or higher rate of Disability Living Allowance Care, Attendance Allowance of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payments.

From the 01 October 2021 there will be a sanctuary scheme exception from restrictions for those whose homes have been adapted under a sanctuary scheme due to domestic violence. A claimant will qualify providing:

  • their property has had additional security installed under a sanctuary scheme as a result of domestic violence or abuse having been inflicted upon or threatened against the claimant or a member of their household
  • the perpetrator of the abuse does not live at the property - except where they are a qualifying young person dependent of a member of the household
  • the claimant provides written evidence from a person acting in an official capacity.

Use the welfare reform calculator to find out if the size related restrictions will apply to you.

Welfare Reform Calculator