There's 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 same rules already apply to most private tenants, however, the limit doesn't apply to tenants of pensionable age.

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.

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 don't 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(s), it's likely that we'll reduce your Housing Benefit.

We'll reduce your maximum Housing Benefit 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 (DHP) fund

If you can't afford a reduction in Housing Benefit but need to remain in your current home (for example, if you have disabled adaptations installed), you can request a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).

DHP payments:

  • can help in exceptional circumstances
  • are available as short-term financial assistance towards housing costs

Exceptions to extra bedrooms and size limits

Housing Benefit isn't affected by extra bedrooms and size limits for some groups of people:

  • 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 with 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'll take everyone living in the property into account when deciding whether you have 'extra' bedrooms, for Housing Benefit purposes.

If we decide you have extra bedrooms, we'll take a percentage reduction off:

  • the whole eligible rent
  • any eligible service charges

We'll then base your Housing Benefit on the proportion of the rent you're 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 don't apply:

  • for 12 months, or
  • until you move home, or
  • if there's another change of circumstances (whichever comes first)

Housing associations

If your landlord is a housing association, they should be able to advise you on the prospects of you changing accommodation so you don't have extra bedrooms.

If you decide to stay in your current accommodation, you should discuss how you'll pay the additional rent with them.

Council tenants

Call us to discuss your options if all the following apply:

  • you're a council tenant in York
  • you have extra bedrooms
  • your Housing Benefit is being reduced

Also see

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