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Social housing size restriction

From April 2013 the Government is introducing new rules that set out the number of bedrooms Housing Benefit will pay for if you are renting from a local authority, a registered housing association or other registered social landlord.

What are the changes?

The new rules will restrict the size of accommodation you can receive Housing Benefit for based on the number of people in your household.

How will this affect me?

It is possible that the amount of Housing Benefit you get to pay your rent could go down. If you are assessed under these rules as having more bedrooms than is necessary for your household you will be considered to be under-occupying that property.

What is the reduction?

If you are under-occupying there will be a reduction in the amount of rent we can use when working out your Housing Benefit of:

  • 14% for under-occupancy by one bedroom
  • 25% for under-occupancy by two bedrooms or more

If you are thinking of moving you need to consider these changes before you renew or make a new tenancy agreement. These reductions do not apply to anyone who is over pensionable age.

How many bedrooms am I entitled to?

The benefit 'size criteria' allows one bedroom for:

  • Every adult couple (same or opposite sex)
  • Any other adult aged 16 or over
  • Any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • Any two children under age 10
  • Any other child

You can also be allowed an additional bedroom if you or your partner need regular overnight care from someone who does not normally live with you. We will not hold this information about you so if you feel this applies to you then contact Benefits Services on 01202 451592.

When will this take affect?

The size limit rules are due to take effect from 1 April 2013.

Disabled adaptations

If your property has been significantly adapted for you or a member of your family because of a disability there may be additional help through Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP). Normally these payments are only for short periods but as your home has been adapted for your needs we would consider awarding DHP for a longer period.

Disabled children sharing

CDC will consider the nature and frequency of care required during the night, and the extent and regularity of the disturbance to the sleep of the child who would normally be required to share the bedroom, when determining whether an allowance would be made.

Foster carers

Approved foster carers will continue to receive payments towards an "additional room" as long as they have fostered a child or become an approved foster carer in the previous 12 months.

Armed Forces

Families with adult children serving in the armed forces will also be exempt from the changes, even when on overseas deployment: they will be treated as if they were continuing to live at home.

Where to go for more information

You can get more information at the benefits pages which provide information on public service in one place including up to date information on the Housing Benefit changes

We have put together some frequently asked questions here Social housing size restriction FAQs.