Under Occupancy Charge (Bedroom Tax)

 What is the Under Occupancy Charge?
The size criteria in the social rented sector restricts housing benefit to allow for one bedroom for each person or couple living as part of the household, with the following exceptions:
• Children under 16 of same gender expected to share
• Children under 10 expected to share regardless of gender
• Disabled tenant or partner who needs a non resident overnight carer will be allowed an extra bedroom. Click here for more information and to see if it applies to you.

 

How much will people lose?
The cut will be a fixed percentage of the Housing Benefit eligible rent and service charge/s. The Government has said that this will be set at 14% for one extra bedroom and 25% for two or more extra bedrooms. The Government’s impact assessment shows that those affected will lose an average of £14 a week.

 

Appealing an under occupancy charge decision
If you are not happy with a decision you have the right to appeal.  Examples of decisions which have been appealed, some successfully and some not, are where the Housing Benefit office have:

  • Decided a room is a bedroom when it is too small to be used as such, or
  • Decided a room is a bedroom when it cannot be used as such, or
  • Has not allocated a bedroom to a non-dependant student who is studying away, or
  • Decided not to allocate a bedroom to a regular overnight carer, or
  • Decided not to allocate a child their own bedroom as they do not believe that , due to their disabilities, they are disruptive at night time.

(This is not an exhaustive list.) Click here if you wish to seek further advice on this from your local Citizens Advice.

 

Taking in a lodger
Right to Rent Checks -
As of February 1st 2016, the law requires everyone renting out property in England to check whether their tenants are legally allowed to live in the UK.

This applies to landlords and also anyone renting out a room to a lodger. It's just for new tenancies – existing tenants and lodgers don't need to be checked. Click here for more information.

If you are considering taking in a lodger to occupy a spare bedroom, please discuss this with us first, and read this leaflet for more information.

To find out more details about the under occupancy charge, what it may mean for you and how to deal with it, please click here.
 

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Taking in a lodger (PDF 155kb)
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