Creating homes and places where people want to live

Bedroom tax

Bedroom tax has been introduced by the Government to reduce the number of tenants that are living in homes that are too big for them. It restricts the amount of housing benefit that you can claim if you have 'spare' bedrooms.

The number of bedrooms you can claim housing benefit for is based on the number of people living in your home. You can claim housing benefit for:

  • one bedroom for a couple
  • one bedroom for a person aged 16 or over
  • one bedroom for two children aged under 16 of the same sex
  • one bedroom for two children aged under 10 (boys and girls are expected to share a room)
  • one bedroom for any other child
  • one extra bedroom if you or your partner needs an overnight carer to stay. 

A child is usually counted as living in the home of the person who receives their child benefit.

One extra room is allowed for approved foster carers who foster a child or children. You can keep the room allowance for an empty room set aside for a foster child if you became an approved foster carer or have fostered a child in the last 12 months.

An adopted child or children is counted for the room allowance once an adoption order is made. If children are placed with you before adoption, you are allowed one room only for them.

For students away from home, a room is counted providing they are away for less than 52 weeks and intend to return home.

A severely disabled child who needs their own room doesn’t have to share at any age.

You don't have to pay bedroom tax for a room usually occupied by a member of the armed forces who is serving away, providing they intend to return to your home.

Size of bedroom

If you have a small bedroom (under 50 square foot) we can look at getting this reclassified as a Box Room. To work this out, you measure the width and length of a bedroom and times the two together to get a square foot. We can help you do this - just email us.


If your home is too big for you, you could do a mutual exchange by finding someone to swap with.  

Get a lodger

You can get a lodger with permission from your Housing Patch Manager. This could help cover the cost of your spare bedroom. And if you're on Universal Credit, it ignores any income that you get from your lodger.