The 'Bedroom Tax' (or 'Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy') took effect from April 2013 and can affect people under Pension Credit age who claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.
The government decided to reduce Housing Benefit (or the Housing-Costs Element if you claim UC) by 14% (around £9.50 a week for most EPIC Tenants) for households who have one 'spare' bedroom. The reduction is 25% where a household has 2 or more 'spare' bedrooms.
How many bedrooms can I have?
One bedroom is allowed for each adult or couple aged 16 years or over.
Children of the same gender are expected to share a room until their 16th birthday.
Children of different genders are expected to share a room until their 10th birthday.
What happens if I have shared care of a child?
A child is only counted as needing a bedroom at the home of the main carer. This is normally the parent who receives the Child Benefit for the child.
What happens if I have a disability?
If you have somebody else who regularly needs to stay overnight to provide care for you because of a disability, you may not be liable for the Bedroom Tax. Please contact us if you need further advice on this.
What can I do if I can't pay the Bedroom Tax?
The most important thing is to let us know as soon as you are having problems. The earlier you let us know, the easier it is to help you put things right. Here are some ways to manage the Bedroom Tax:
Move to a smaller property - We can give priority to current tenants who need to move to a smaller home to avoid the Bedroom Tax.
Mutual Exchange - You can arrange to swap your home with another Housing Association or Council tenant. Both landlords would need to give permission first. Contact your Housing Officer if you are interested in a mutual exchange.
Find employment - If you no longer need to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, the Bedroom Tax would not apply to you.
Take in a lodger - You need to get our permission first, but taking in a lodger may help avoid the Bedroom Tax. However, it's important to get this checked out first, as taking in a lodger could affect the amount of benefit that you get.
'Stay and Pay' - We know that many people do not want to move and try to pay the rent shortfall (around £9.60 each week). It's important you keep up with your payments and let us know as soon as you have any problems.