Tenants in social or council housing who receive Housing Benefit can lose out on some of this money due to the so-called bedroom tax. The bedroom tax or ‘spare room subsidy’ means that if you’ve got an extra room in your property, you’ll have some of your Housing Benefit cut.
But how much is the bedroom tax per extra bedroom in your house? And who won’t have to worry about the bedroom tax? We’ll take you through everything you’ll need to know.
How much bedroom tax will you pay?
If you have extra rooms in your council or social housing property, the bedroom tax will affect you. This isn’t actually a tax – it just means that you won’t get as much Housing Benefit based on how many rooms you have and how many people are living in the property.
For one ‘spare’ bedroom, you’ll lose 14% of the ‘eligible rent’ from your Housing Benefit. You’ll lose 25% of the eligible rent if you have two or more spare bedrooms in your property. You’ll then have to make up the extra part of your rent yourself.
Your eligible rent is the amount of rent you pay in total including any service charges. For example, if your rent is £100 a week but your Housing Benefit currently covers £50 of it and you pay the rest, your eligible rent is still £100. If you then have a spare bedroom – someone moves out or doesn’t need a room anymore – you’ll lose £14 of your Housing Benefit. And if you have two or more spare rooms, you’ll miss out on £25 from your benefits.
Shared or separate bedrooms
A spare bedroom isn’t just when there are more bedrooms in a property than people. Some people have to share bedrooms, while others can get their own room.
Here’s who has to share a room to avoid the bedroom tax:
• an adult couple,
• two children under 16 of the same gender, and
• two children under 10 no matter what gender they are.
And here’s who can get their own room without having to share:
• single adults aged 16 or over,
• a child that should share but shared bedrooms are already taken,
• disabled children who can’t share, and
• an overnight carer for you or your partner.
You can also have a spare bedroom for an approved foster carer between payments, students and members of the armed forces who are planning to come back home.
Who is exempt from the bedroom tax?
The bedroom tax doesn’t affect everyone who receives Housing Benefit – there are certain groups of people who won’t lose out if they’ve got a spare bedroom.
• anyone or their partner who have reached state pension age,
• anyone living in a shared ownership property,
• anyone who lives in a mobile home, caravan or a houseboat,
• anyone who lives in supported accommodation, or
• homeless people in temporary accommodation.