There is a limit on the number of bedrooms housing benefit will pay for, if you're renting from:
- a local authority
- a registered housing association
- a registered social landlord
The limit does not apply to tenants of pensionable age; the same rules already apply to most private tenants.
Accommodation size and housing benefit
The size of accommodation you can receive housing benefit for is based on the number of people living in your home with you. We allow one bedroom for each of the following categories:
- every adult couple (married or unmarried)
- any other adult aged 16 or over (this includes non-dependants who are currently on active service in the Armed Forces)
- any 2 children of the same sex, aged under 16
- any 2 children aged under 10 of the same or opposite sex
- any other child (other than a child whose main home is elsewhere)
- a carer (or team of carers) who do not live with you but provide overnight care to you or your partner
Extra bedrooms and housing benefit
If you have one or more extra bedroom, your housing benefit may be reduced.
We will reduce your maximum housing benefit for rent by:
- 14% if you have 1 extra bedroom
- 25% if you have 2 or more extra bedrooms
Dealing with reduced housing benefit
If we reduce your housing benefit, you could:
- consider moving to more appropriately-sized accommodation (talk to your landlord)
- ask other members of the household to contribute more
- take in a lodger or boarder (seek advice about your benefits/permissions first)
- start work or increase your working hours to increase your income (seek advice about your entitlement to benefits first)
Discretionary Housing Payments fund
If you can't afford a reduction in housing benefit but need to remain in your current home (for example, if disabled adaptations have been carried out), you can request a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).
- can help in exceptional circumstances
- are available as short-term/temporary financial assistance towards housing costs
Exceptions to extra bedrooms and size limits
There are some groups whose housing benefit is not affected by extra bedrooms and size limits:
- those in a shared ownership property
- those of pensionable age - size limits only apply to tenants of working age; any tenant over the qualifying age for state pension credit or with a partner over that age will be exempt
- registered foster carers who have a current foster carer agreement
- adult children who are in the Armed Forces - those who continue to live with parents will be considered as living at home, even when deployed on operations
- disabled children who need their own bedroom due to a medical condition and are in receipt of middle/higher rate Disability Living Allowance (DLA) (decisions on individual cases are made using supporting medical information)
Rules for joint tenants
If you live with other people, we will take into account everyone living in the property when deciding whether you have 'extra' bedrooms for housing benefit purposes.
If we decide you have extra bedrooms, we will take a percentage reduction off:
- the whole eligible rent
- any eligible service charges
We will then base your housing benefit on the proportion of the rent you are liable to pay.
Cases of bereavement
You may be considered to have an extra bedroom following a death in your household.
In these circumstances, the size limit rules do not apply for 12 months, or until you move home, or if there is another change of circumstances (whichever comes first).
If your landlord is a housing association, they should be able to advise you on the prospects of changing accommodation so you don't have extra bedrooms.
If you decide to stay in your current accommodation, you should discuss how you will pay the additional rent with them.
If you are a council tenant in York and you have extra bedrooms or your housing benefit is being reduced, call us to discuss your options.