Skip to content
Coins icon

Bedroom tax

Find out how you may be affected by the Bedroom tax.

If you have more bedrooms than are allowed under Government rules, your Housing Benefit will be cut. This is called the removal of the 'spare room subsidy' or the 'bedroom tax'.

To discuss how you might be affected by the 'bedroom tax' and your options, email or call 020 7527 4140.

Who is affected by the bedroom tax

You may be affected if you:

  • rent your home from us, a registered housing association or other registered social landlord
  • are of working age
  • have more bedrooms than your household needs.

Who is not affected by the bedroom tax

You do not lose out on housing benefit if you:

  • receive Pension Credit
  • are a foster carer
  • are a parent with a child in the armed forces who still lives with them when not on service.

Number of bedrooms you are allowed

The Government rules say you can have one bedroom for each couple or person aged 16 or over living in the home.

  • A child under 16 is expected to share with one other child aged up to 16, if they are of the same sex.
  • A child under 10 is expected to share with one other child aged under 10, regardless of their sex and the size of the bedroom.

If you have any spare bedrooms that are not being used, or that are being used by people expected to share, your Housing Benefit will be cut.

When children and young people can have their own bedroom

  • Some people who need overnight care from a person who does not live with them may be allowed their own bedroom.
  • Disabled children who cannot be expected to share will be allowed their own bedroom.
  • Foster children do not count as living with you but you will be allowed a bedroom for them. If you have more than one bedroom reserved for fostering, you may have your Housing Benefit reduced. You should apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment and get advice.

For example, a couple with a son aged seven and daughter aged five would be allowed a two-bedroom property - one bedroom for the couple and one bedroom for the two children to share.

If you are unsure whether you will be affected, call us on 020 7527 4990 or email

How much Housing Benefit you lose

If you have:

  • one spare bedroom your Housing Benefit will be cut by 14% of your full rent
  • two or more bedrooms, your Housing Benefit will be cut by 25% of your full rent.

Find out exactly how much your Housing Benefit will be cut by calling us on 020 7527 4990 or email

What you can do

If you are affected by the 'bedroom tax', you have some options.

Move into a smaller home

If you move into a smaller home - called downsizing - you can avoid the ‘bedroom tax’. Your rent and bills might also be lower. You will also have a smaller space to manage, and might get to live in a new area, closer to family, friends or schools.

Find out more about downsizing

The Housing Options team can help you to move. Get in touch now to find out more. Email or phone 020 7527 4140.

Stay in your current home

If you stay in your current home you will need to pay extra rent to cover the cut in Housing Benefit. It’s important to consider now how you will do this, to avoid getting into arrears with your rent. To pay the shortfall in Housing Benefit you can do the following.

Increase your income

If you are not working but would like some help to find employment or prepare for work, contact your local job centre or call the national job-seeker’s line on 0845 660 234. Find out more on support finding work. Information about training courses is also available on our Adult & Community Learning site. Increasing your income could affect your benefits. 

Ask family members to contribute, or pay more yourself

For information about welfare benefits and debt and money management, call our Income Maximisation team on 080 0731 8081. View the directory of local debt advice services.

Take in a boarder or lodger

Find out more about taking in a lodger by contacting the Tenancy Management Adviser at your Area Housing Office. Income from a boarder could affect your other benefits. Contact the Income Maximisation Team on 020 7527 8600 or email to find out how.

Was this information helpful?

Data protection: We will handle your personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with the council’s Fair Processing Notice.