what is bedroom tax

What is the Bedroom Tax?

BWhat is the bedroom tax? The bedroom tax in the UK is also known as the spare room subsidy. Freeing up larger homes for families who need them. However, the bedroom tax has been criticised for its impact on vulnerable groups. Like the disabled, foster carers, and those who have experienced bereavement.

As we delve into this complex topic, we’ll explore the rules and regulations surrounding the bedroom tax. Also, its exemptions and exceptions. This will help to support options available to those affected. In case you’re a social housing tenant or a housing professional, this discussion will provide you with a clear and comprehensive overview of the bedroom tax.


Get in touch with one of our experts to learn about bedroom tax. We are available from 9:00 am – 05:30 pm Monday to Friday.


What is the Bedroom Tax?

The bedroom tax, also known as the spare room subsidy, is a controversial housing benefit reform introduced in the UK. Bedroom tax aimed to encourage people living in social housing (council or housing association homes) to move to smaller properties.

The bedroom tax reduces the amount of housing benefit paid to tenants who have spare bedrooms in their homes. The reduction is:

  1. 14% for one spare bedroom
  2. 25% for two or more spare bedrooms

Tenants affected by the bedroom tax must pay the reduced amount themselves. This can lead to financial hardship and difficulties in paying rent.

The bedroom tax has faced criticism for:

  1. Penalising vulnerable groups, like the disabled and foster carers
  2. Failing to consider individual circumstances
  3. Causing financial hardship and homelessness

In response to criticisms, some changes and reforms have been made, including:

  1. Exemptions for certain groups, like foster carers and disabled people
  2. Discretionary payments for vulnerable tenants
  3. Reviews and appeals processes


How to Deal with the Bedroom Tax?

If you’re affected by the bedroom tax, don’t panic! There are steps you can take to manage the impact. First, ensure you’re eligible for housing benefits or universal credit. If you have spare bedrooms, you’ll be affected.

Work out the reduction in your housing benefit or universal credit. Check if you’re exempt from the bedroom tax. Certain groups, like foster carers and disabled people, are excluded. If you disagree with the decision, appeal to the relevant authority. You can also seek advice from a housing expert or benefits advisor.

Apply for discretionary payments from your local council if you’re struggling to pay rent due to the bedroom tax. If you follow these steps, you can navigate the bedroom tax and find ways to minimise its impact on your life.


How Many Bedrooms Can You Get Benefits For?

Generally, you’re allowed one bedroom for:

  1. Yourself
  2. Your partner (if you have one)
  3. Children (up to two children of the same gender or a child under 10)

You may be eligible for additional bedrooms if:

  1. You have a disabled child who cannot share a bedroom
  2. You have a foster child
  3. You have a child over 10 who cannot share a bedroom due to disability or medical needs

However, there are limitations:

  1. Same-gender siblings are expected to share until age 16
  2. Children over 10 are expected to share unless medically impossible

Some exceptions apply:

  1. If you have a severe disability and need a carer
  2. If you have a spare room for a temporary care

Bedroom tax rules may vary depending on your location and housing provider.


How Much Benefit Do You Lose?

If you’re affected by the bedroom tax, you’ll face reductions in your housing benefit or universal credit. The reduction amount depends on the number of spare bedrooms:

  1. 1 spare bedroom: 14% reduction
  2. 2 or more spare bedrooms: 25% reduction

Let’s say your weekly housing benefit is £100 and you have 1 spare bedroom. You’ll lose:

i- 14% of £100 = £14 per week

Or, if you have 2 spare bedrooms:

ii- 25% of £100 = £25 per week

If you receive universal credit, the reduction will be applied to your housing element. These reductions can add up, especially if you’re already on a tight budget. So you can better plan your finances and seek support if needed. It is better to consult with your local authority or housing association for personalised guidance.


If Someone You Live With Has Died?

Losing a loved one is never easy, and the last thing you need is financial stress. If someone you live with has passed away, you may be exempt from the bedroom tax for some time. You may be eligible for a temporary exemption from the bedroom tax for a certain period after the person’s passing. This allows you time to grieve and adjust without worrying about financial penalties.

To qualify for the exemption, you must:

  1. Have been living with the person who passed away
  2. Be a housing benefit or universal credit claimant
  3. Not have any other spare bedrooms

You must notify your local authority or housing association about the bereavement as soon as possible. After the 12-month exemption period ends, the normal bedroom tax rules will apply again. It is good to understand the bedroom tax exemption rules after a bereavement. Seek guidance from your local authority or housing association to ensure you receive the support you need.


The Bottom Line

In conclusion, what is the bedroom tax, the bedroom tax in the UK is a controversial policy aimed at encouraging the efficient use of social housing. While it intends to free up larger homes for families in need, it has faced criticism for penalising vulnerable groups. This includes the disabled, foster carers, and those who have suffered a bereavement.

The policy can lead to significant reductions in housing benefits or universal credit. Exacerbating financial hardship and stress. However, there are exemptions, discretionary payments, and support services available to help mitigate its impact. With bedroom tax rules, exemptions, and support options, individuals can navigate this complex system and access the help they need. It’s essential to stay informed, seek guidance from local authorities or housing associations, and reach out to support services during difficult times.


Reach out to our expert professionals to get your queries answered instantly. We will love to come up with the best possible solutions to your queries.


Disclaimer: All the information provided in this article on what is bedroom tax, including all the texts and graphics, is general in nature. It does not intend to disregard any of the professional advice.

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