What is Bedroom Tax?

Are you struggling with Bedroom Tax? Have you considered taking in a lodger? Here's some handy information about renting out a room. If you have a room to let or if you are looking for a room, take a look at these websites:



What is bedroom tax?

Bedroom tax limits the amount of housing benefit you can claim.

How it works

If you are a working-age social housing tenant, the council limits your housing benefit if it decides you have 'spare' bedrooms. This cut in housing benefit is called the under-occupancy charge, but is more commonly known as bedroom tax.

The number of bedrooms you can claim for is based on the number of people living in your home. You have to pay any outstanding rent yourself.

How much housing benefit do you lose?

The amount of rent you can claim housing benefit for is reduced by:

14% if you have one 'spare' bedroom

25% if you have two or more 'spare' bedrooms

For example, if you have one 'spare' bedroom and your rent is £100 per week, you will only be able to claim £86 housing benefit. You will have to pay £14 yourself.

If you have two or more 'spare' bedrooms and your rent is £100 per week, you will only be able to claim £75 housing benefit. You will have to pay £25 yourself.

Take action if you are affected by the bedroom tax

Ask about a discretionary housing payment to help with a rent shortfall.

Use a benefits calculator to make sure you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to.

Did you know that taking in a lodger could help? The first £20 of the rent you get won’t affect your benefits.

Those not affected by bedroom tax?

The bedroom tax won't affect you if you or your partner has reached state pension credit age. Check to see if you are of pension credit age.

You will also not be affected by bedroom tax if you are living in:

  • Shared ownership properties
  • Caravans, mobile homes and houseboats
  • Some types of supported accommodation.

How many bedrooms can you get housing benefit for?

You can usually only 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.

Foster children 

A maximum of one extra room is allowed for approved foster carers who foster a child. 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.


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

Children with disabilities

A severely disabled child who needs their own room isn't required to share.

Armed forces

You don't have to pay bedroom tax for a room usually occupied by your son or daughter who is a member of the Armed Forces and serving away from home, providing they intend to return to your home.