To bring Housing Benefit for social tenants in line with private tenants (who have Local Housing Allowance), a size criteria was introduced in 2013
This means that if you have one or more spare bedrooms your Housing Benefit is reduced.
Please Note: These changes only apply to council or social housing tenants of working age.
Housing Benefit is cut by 14% of the total rent you pay every week if you have one spare bedroom. If you have two or more spare bedrooms, you lose 25%. If your benefit is cut you need to pay your landlord the difference between your Housing Benefit and your rent.
There are similar rules under Universal Credit where this charge is called the under occupancy deduction.
For housing benefit the rules say you need one bedroom for each of the following:
Rooms used by students and members of the armed or reserve forces if they’re away and intend to return home are not counted as spare rooms.
The rules also allow one spare bedroom for approved foster carers who are between placements or awaiting their first placement but for up to 52 weeks only.
Although it might sound drastic, you could think about moving to a smaller property . It’s likely that some of your other bills, like heating costs, would go down too and mean you’re better off. We may be able to help you with your moving costs.
In some exceptional circumstances you may be able to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment .
These are used to provide further financial help with rent costs for Housing Benefit claimants who are suffering hardship because of unusual or difficult circumstances.
Each case will be considered on its own merits.
If you need help
If you are a council tenant you can contact your Housing Officer or Crawley Homes Money Advisors on 01293 438223 or 438931. You can also email us .
The Citizens Advice Bureau can give you independent advice. Call Citizens Advice Central and South Sussex (Crawley) on 0844 477 1171 or visit www.cassca.org.uk . They also have an under occupancy calculator.
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