Under-occupancy rules (‘bedroom tax’) – social housing and housing association tenants

The Housing Benefit under-occupancy rules mean we must reduce your Housing Benefit if you rent from a social landlord or housing association and you have more bedrooms than the rules say your family needs. The rules are also called ‘social sector size criteria’.

Under-occupancy rules do not apply if either you or your partner has reached Pension Credit age.

The maximum amount of rent Housing Benefit can cover reduces by 14% if you have one more bedroom than the rules say you need and by 25% if you have two or more extra bedrooms.

Number of bedrooms

Under-occupancy rules say you need one bedroom for each of the following:

  • a couple
  • anyone aged 16 or over
  • two children of the same sex under 16
  • two children of either sex under 10
  • any other child 
  • a child who can’t share a bedroom because they have severe disabilities - you will be asked to provide medical evidence for this, for example, a letter from your GP
  • any number of foster children
  • people in the armed forces who are away from home on operations
  • people who normally live with you but are away for a reason allowed under the temporary absence rules
  • both members of a couple where the couple can’t share a bedroom because of a disability or because one or both needs space for medical equipment, and where the ill or disabled person gets any of the following:
    • the middle or higher level of Disability Living Allowance
    • Personal Independence Payment daily living component
    • Armed Forces Independent Payment
    • a carer or group of carers giving overnight care to you, your partner, or a disabled child or a disabled non-dependant , where the person needing care gets any of the following:
      • the middle or higher level of Disability Living Allowance
      • Personal Independence Payment daily living component
      • Armed Forces Independent Payment

Further information, help and support

For details of organisations who can give you advice about money matters and help you apply for benefits, see Live Well applying for welfare benefits.

For an estimate of how much benefit you might get, you can use the entitledto  benefits calculator or the Turn2us calculator.