Under Occupation or "bedroom tax"

Under-occupation is where you live in a property with more bedrooms than the Government thinks you need. It is commonly known as the "Bedroom tax". If you (and your partner) are a pensioner you will not be affected.

Who is affected?

Everybody claiming Housing Benefit who is between 16 and pension age will be affected.

Examples of under occupancy are:

  • a single person or a couple living in a 2 bedroom property
  • a couple with one child living in a 3 bedroom property
  • a child under the age of 16 is expected to share with another child of the same gender
  • children under 10 are expected to share with another child regardless of gender.

What and when is the change?

If, according to the Government, you are classed as under occupying the amount of Housing Benefit you receive will be reduced.

There are two rates for the reduction:

  1. If you have one extra bedroom your Housing Benefit will reduce by 14% (about £12 per week)
  2. If you have two or more extra bedrooms your Housing Benefit will reduce by 25% (about £22 per week)

This change came into effect in April 2013.

What can I do?

You have several options. You can:

  • Move to a property with the number of bedrooms for your family size. Contact us on 01992 453 700 for more information
  • Pay the difference yourself and stay where you are. You can get help with budgeting from our Income and Welfare team.
  • Take a lodger in to use your extra bedroom. You should be aware that doing so could affect the amount of Housing Benefit you are entitled to.

I’m still worried, who can I speak to?

One-to-one appointments: We’ll visit you at your home, or you can come into the office. Call or email us to book an appointment. On Thursdays you can get appointments up until 6.30pm

Telephone: 01992 453 700 or 0800 107 0713 *

*Calls to these numbers are free from a landline. From a mobile they may be expensive