Spare room subsidy (bedroom tax)

You may get less housing benefit if you are of working age and live in a housing association or council property that has one or more spare bedrooms. This is known as bedroom tax 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 may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to help meet costs.


You may 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 

 Bedroom tax doesn't apply to you if you live in:

  • private rented housing
  • non-mainsteam accommodation such as houseboats and caravans
  • certain types of temporary or supported accommodation