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Underoccupancy or Bedroom Tax


Working age tenants in social housing will have their Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing element reduced by 14% if they have one spare bedroom or 25% if they have two or more spare bedrooms. Its proper name is the “social sector size criteria”, but most people call it the “bedroom tax”.

Please note: Most tenants of pension age are not affected by the bedroom tax, however if they receive Universal credit as a mixed age couple (one pension age & one working age) they will still be affected by the reduction. 

The Regulations allow one bedroom:

  • For the claimant and any joint claimant i.e. partner.
  • Each non-dependant living as part of the household.
  • Each young person aged 16 or over
  • For children, i.e. anyone under 16 living in the property: 
    • a child under 16 would be expected to share with one other child of the same gender (maximum of two to a room),
    • a child under 10 would be expected to share with one other child aged under 10 regardless of gender (maximum of two to a room),


Special rules apply in certain circumstances:

  • For certain couples who, due to disability, are unable to share a bedroom.
  • A severely disabled child who is eligible for the middle or high rate care component of DLA care can be allocated their own bedroom in certain circumstances
  • For an overnight carer who doesn't normally live in the property in certain circumstances
  • For a foster carer

Please ask your inclusion advisor for more information on applying for these exemptions.