"Bedroom Tax"

The Spare Room Subsidy, often referred to as the under occupancy charge or "Bedroom Tax", was introduced in 2013. It means that if you receive housing benefit for your rent, you receive less if you live in a housing association or council property if it is deemed that you have one or more spare bedrooms.

Examples of people who are affected include:

  • couples or single, working age people, who live in a two-bed property
  • families living in a three-bed (or more) property where children could share a bedroom
  • foster carers (foster children are not counted household members for benefit purposes)
  • separated parents with shared care of children. Only the main carer will be allowed the extra bedroom
  • disabled customers who have an extra bedroom but do not have an overnight carer
  • customers with disabled children who have their own bedroom but would be expected to share with other children

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions below for detailed information on this.

Frequently asked questions

Who does the "Bedroom Tax" affect?

The "Bedroom Tax" affects people who are:

  • working age AND
  • claim housing benefit AND
  • live in a property that is deemed by your Housing Benefit Office to be too large for the number of people living there

You can click here to calculate if your property is the right size for your needs and if the bedroom tax will apply to you. 

How many bedrooms can I have?

According to the policy, as a Social Housing tenant, you are allowed one bedroom for each adult or couple living as part of the household, with the following exceptions:

  • children of the same gender, under 16 are expected to share the same bedroom
  • children no matter what gender, under 16 are expected to share bedroom
  • a disabled customer or their partner who needs a non-resident overnight carer

How much Housing Benefit will you lose?

  • If you have one extra bedroom than the rules allow, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by 14%
  • If you have two or more extra bedrooms than the rules allow your Housing Benefit will be reduced by 25%

Please note that you will be responsible for paying this shortfall to Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association. 

What is working age?

Working age means anyone over 18 and who has not yet reached state pension age. Your state pension age depends on when you were born. Please click here to calculate your state pension age. 

What counts as a bedroom?

Your tenancy agreement will officially state how many bedrooms your property has, and this is what will be used by your Housing Benefit Office to calculate if you are occupying or under-occupying the property. 

What about children who are away at University?

If the student is not claiming Housing Benefit at their student address, and they are coming home regularly, and their room has not been sublet, they should still be viewing as occupying the property as their home and therefore will require a bedroom.

What happens if there is a death in my household?

There may be some circumstances where a customer is seen as under occupying their home because of a death in the household. In these circumstances, the bedroom tax would not apply for 12 months, or until there was another change in circumstances. 

What happens if I could afford my rent but lose my job and have to start claiming Housing Benefit?

If you could previously afford your rent but lose your job, provided you have not claimed Housing Benefit in the last 52 weeks, the bedroom tax will not apply for the first 13 weeks. 

Is there anything that can be done to help my situation?

There are some options for things you could do to help with your situation, but these very much depend on your individual circumstances. You should contact your Income Officer to discuss your situation. Please click here to find their contact details.