Bedroom tax (spare room subsidy)

Find out what the bedroom tax is and how it might affect your benefits.

You might get less housing benefit if you are working age and live in a housing association or council property that has one or more spare bedrooms. This is known as bedroom tax, spare room subsidy, or social sector size criteria.

Benefit rules say that each of the following needs one bedroom:

  • a couple
  • a single person over 16
  • two children of the same sex under 16
  • two children of either sex under 10
  • any other child

Any reduction for spare bedrooms will be shown on your housing benefit notification letter.

If your housing benefit is reduced and you won't be able to pay your rent because of this, you might be able to get extra help with your housing costs (known as a discretionary housing payment).

When bedroom tax does not apply

 Bedroom tax does not apply to you if you live in:

  • private rented housing
  • non-mainstream accommodation like houseboats and caravans
  • some types of temporary or supported accommodation

You might be allowed an extra bedroom if:

  • you or your partner need overnight care from someone that doesn't normally live with you
  • you're an approved foster carer and have a foster child either living with you or waiting to be placed
  • your children can't share a bedroom because of severe disability