How will the Bedroom Tax affect my Universal Credit?

The Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (more commonly known as the "Bedroom Tax") reduces the housing costs element of your Universal Credit payment if you are classed as having "spare" bedroom(s).

The actual size of your home doesn't matter: it is the number of bedrooms you have and the number of people living there that count.

The reduction (if applicable) is applied to your 'net rent' (the rent when things like water charges are removed, as these are not covered by Universal Credit). This is also called your 'eligible rent'.

The amount your net rent is cut by equals:

  • 14% if you have one spare bedroom

  • 25% if you have two or more spare bedrooms

For example, if your net rent is £100 a week, you need to pay the following extra rent yourself:

  • £14 more if you have one spare room

  • £25 more if you have two spare rooms

If you're worried about the Bedroom Tax affecting your ability to pay your rent, there are several ways you might be able to help yourself - see Help with the Bedroom Tax further down this page.

Bedrooms allowed for household members

When calculating the number of bedrooms not affected by the bedroom tax, one each is allowed for the following:

  • adult couple

  • member of a couple who can't share a bedroom because of a disability

  • single person over 16 (including lodgers and friends or relatives who live with you)

  • disabled child under 16 who can't share a bedroom because of their disability

  • 2 children of the same sex under 16

  • 2 children of either sex under 10

Extra rooms can also be allowed for:

  • An overnight carer

  • If you are a foster carer and have a child placed with you or have fostered/been approved within the last 12 months and are awaiting a placement (Only one extra room is allowed even if there are more than one foster children).

An absent person can still be treated as occupying a room if the home is their main residence and they are:

  • A member of the armed forces

  • A student

  • In hospital (but expected to returned within 52 weeks)

  • In prison (but sentenced for less than 6 months)

If your benefits are reduced because of the bedroom tax you are responsible for the shortfall.  If you are unable to pay your rent because of the shortfall, then you may be able to claim extra help.  Please see our section on Discretionary Housing Payments for more information on this.

If you do not pay your rent, your home may be at risk.  If you are unable to pay your rent you must contact us immediately to discuss this.

Help with the Bedroom Tax

If you don't think you can cover the shortfall in your rent, you could look at moving to a smaller property. Unfortunately however there is a national shortage of small properties so you may have to join a waiting list and there is no guarantee when a suitable property will become available.

If you want to move, contact us as soon as possible. Tell us what type of home you are looking for and where you want to live and we will try to match you with a suitable available property. Vacancies are usually limited and we can only make you three reasonable offers of alternative accommodation. If you refuse all three offers, we will review your case with you and talk through the other options available.

You can also look at mutual exchange, where you find another person to swap homes with. Or you can apply to move to another property through your local choice-based lettings (CBL) scheme(s).

If you are unsure as to whether or not you are affected by the bedroom tax, you can work out your benefits entitlement using the benefit calculator.