Toggle menu

Are you eligible for your first dose of the Covid vaccine?

Don't hesitate to get your vaccination. Find out if you are eligible and book

Housing benefit under occupancy rules

Housing benefit restrictions for housing association tenants 

Housing benefit for working age customers who live in housing association properties will be reduced if you have more rooms than you and your family need. 

The reduction will not apply if: 

  • you, or your partner if you have one is a pensioner
  • you live in supported accommodation, where care, support or supervision is provided either by the landlord or someone on their behalf
  • your accommodation is temporary, for example, you have been housed by the council due to homelessness
  • you live in accommodation such as a caravan
  • you have a shared ownership tenancy. 

 

How we calculate the number of bedrooms you need

You are under occupying your property if you have more bedrooms than your household needs. The number of bedrooms that working age customers will be able to claim for will be the same as customers who reside in privately rented homes. 

There are also restrictions on the levels of housing benefit awarded to tenants of other private landlords under the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rules

The LHA rate shown will not apply to you as a housing association tenant. The amount of housing benefit you will be entitled to will be reduced in line with the under-occupancy rules. 

1 bedroom is allowed for each of the following groups: 

  • a couple 
  • a person who is not a child (aged 16 and over)
  • 2 children of the same sex under 16
  • 2 children of different sexes under 10
  • any other child, other than a foster child or child who main home is elsewhere.

If you do not agree with the number of bedrooms we have used to calculate your housing benefit entitlement then you can make an appeal. Any appeal should be made in writing within 1 month of the decision. View more information on making an appeal.

View our bedroom calculator to find out what Local Housing Allowance category you and your family fit into.

 

Reduction in benefit for under-occupancy

If you have extra rooms you will have reductions applied to your rent as follows: 

1 extra bedroom - 14% reduction 
2 or more extra bedrooms - 25% reduction

So, for example, a lone parent with 1 boy aged 3 and 1 girl aged 7 is entitled to 2 rooms (1 for an adult and 1 for the 2 children who must share). They live in a 3-bedroom house and their rent is £80 per week. A 14% reduction applies therefore the most we could pay in housing benefit is £68.80 per week.

If you are under occupying your property the amount of rent we use to calculate your benefit will reduce. This means the amount of housing benefit you get will reduce and you will have to pay towards your rent. 

We will continue to pay housing benefit if you are on income support, but it will not cover your full rent if you have spare bedrooms. You will have an amount of rent to pay yourself. You should contact your Housing Association to make arrangements to pay. 

 

Customers with a disability

You may be entitled to another room if you need regular overnight care and the care is provided by someone who does not live with you permanently.

To be eligible for this you must:

  • have care arranged and have a room available for a carer.

You must be in receipt of either:

  • Disability Living Allowance (Care) at the middle or higher rate
  • higher rate Attendance Allowance
  • the Daily Living component of Personal Independence Payment
  • the Armed Forces Independence Payment.

If you are not in receipt of a qualifying benefit then we would need medical evidence from a GP or other medical profession that supports the requirement for regular overnight care.

If you have a disability and your partner is your carer you will not qualify for another bedroom, when receiving care the care must be provided by someone who does not live with you.

You may be entitled to another bedroom if you have a disability which means you are unable to share a bedroom with your partner.

To be eligible for this you must be in receipt of either:

  • Disability Living Allowance (Care) at the middle or higher rate
  • higher rate Attendance Allowance
  • the Daily Living component of the Personal Independence Payment
  • the Armed Forces Independence Payment

We may need to ask for more information about your medical condition and how it affects you if you think you may qualify.

 

Children with a disability 

You are entitled to an additional bedroom if you have a child who is unable to share with a sibling due to a severe disability.  

We would need to assess the need for another bedroom by considering:

  • the nature of the child's disability and how the disability may affect other children if they were to share a room. This will need to be supported by evidence from a healthcare professional.

The child must be in receipt of:

  • Disability Living Allowance (care) at the middle of higher rate

You may be entitled to another bedroom if you have a child with a disability or a non-dependant with a disability who requires overnight care and the care is provided by someone who does not normally live with you.

To be eligible for this you must:

  • have care arranged and a spare bedroom must be available for the carer
  • ensure an extra bedroom has not already been granted for a carer to another household member

The child of non-dependant must be in receipt of either:

  • Disability Living Allowance (Care) at middle or high rate
  • the Daily Living component of Personal Independence Payments
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Armed Forces Independence payments

 

Armed Forces personnel

Non-dependants who normally reside in your home and are members of the armed forces are entitled to a bedroom whilst they are away from the home on operations.

 

Foster carers

Approved foster carers are entitled to 1 additional bedroom where one of the following conditions apply:

  • foster carers who have a child or children placed with them
  • foster carers who are between placements (for a period of up to 52 weeks from the date of their last placement)
  • newly approved foster carers (for a period of up to 52 consecutive weeks from the date of approval, if no child is placed during that period) 

 

People who are not included in your household

Children who stay at weekends - The law does not allow another room if children only stay at weekends and are not permanent residents. Children are usually included in the household of the person who receives child benefit for them. 

Non-dependants who have another address  - Non-dependants who are employed full-time in the army and live in barracks or who are at University staying in halls of residence, for which they pay rent and Council Tax are not treated as part of your household for housing benefit purposes as they do not live permanently with you, even if they return for the holidays. You will need to inform us if they intend to return home on a permanent basis.

 

Additional help

If you are having difficulty paying your rent due to the Under Occupancy charge you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
 

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email