Under occupancy

Under occupancy/ ‘spare bedrooms’

Housing benefit for working age social sector tenants has reduced if the property is ‘under occupied’. ‘Under occupancy’ means you have more bedrooms than the government thinks you are entitled to.

  • Pension age claimants are not affected
  • If you have one spare room, your housing benefit will be cut by 14%
  • If you have two or more spare bedrooms, you will lose 25%
  • If your benefit is cut, you will have to pay your landlord the difference between your benefits and your rent

Who is entitled to a bedroom?

The new rules are based on the make-up of your household.

  • A couple
  • A person aged 16 or older
  • Two children of the same sex until their 16th birthday
  • Two children until their 10th birthday (any gender)
  • Any other child
  • Where the claimant or their partner requires overnight care and there is a spare bedroom for the Carer to occupy
  • A disabled child where there is proven medical need for a separate bedroom
  • A bedroom for approved foster carers who have fostered in the last 12 months
  • Adult children who are in the armed forces but continue to live with parents. There will be a non dependent charge while deployed on operations and have the intention to return home

If you have a disability and need an extra room for a carer to stay overnight, please contact Tamworth Borough Council to let us know.

Case Studies:

Below are two scenarios which could help put your situation in context.

Mr and Mrs Smith live in a two-bedroom flat and the rent is £70 per week. Currently their housing benefit covers the full cost of their rent. Under the new rules, they have a spare bedroom, therefore their housing benefit will be reduced by £9.80 a week, which they will have to pay. 

Mrs and Mrs Bell live with their two teenage boys, aged 13 and 15, in a three-bedroomed house. Their rent is £100 per week and they receive £10 a week in housing benefit. Under the new rules, their children will be expected to share a bedroom, and they will be seen to have one spare room. Their housing benefit will reduce by 14%, which in this case is £14. Therefore they will lose all their housing benefit.