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Welfare reform

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

5. Under occupation

Changes have been made to reduce the amount of Housing Benefit paid to working age households renting from us or a Housing Association.

The rules restrict the size of accommodation you can receive Housing Benefit for based on the number of people in your household.

The rules allow one bedroom for:

  • Every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • Any other adult aged 16 or over
  • Any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • Any two children aged under 10
  • Any other child
  • One or more foster children (note that only one bedroom is allowed, irrespective of the number of foster children in the household)
  • An adult child in the armed forces, who will be deemed to be living at home while they are away on operations, so the room will not be considered to be spare.  When the child is not deployed a non-dependent deduction will apply
  • Severely disabled children who would seriously disrupt the sleep of another child at night if they were to share a bedroom
  • A carer (or team of carers) who do not live with you but provide you or your partner with overnight care

This means it's possible the amount of Housing Benefit you get to pay your rent could go down. If you are assessed under these rules as having more bedrooms than is necessary for your household you will be considered to be under-occupying that property.

If you are under-occupying there will be a reduction in your Housing Benefit of:

  • 14% of the rent charge for under-occupying by one bedroom
  • 25% of the rent charge for under-occupying by two bedrooms or more

If you are thinking of moving you need to consider these changes before you renew or make a new tenancy agreement. You may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment to make up all or some of the reduction.


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