Tenants of Council and Housing Associations who are of working age and in receipt of Housing Benefit or the Housing Costs Element of Universal Credit will have their benefit reduced if they are deemed to be under-occupying their home.  

The limit on the number of rooms you can claim benefit for is based on the number of people living in your home, subject to conditions regarding age and gender of children sharing a bedroom as follows:

  • One bedroom for a couple
  • One bedroom for a person aged 16 or over
  • One bedroom for two children aged under 16 of the same gender
  • One bedroom for two children aged under 10 (regardless of the gender of the children)
  • One bedroom for any other child
  • One extra bedroom if you or a member of your household  needs an overnight carer to stay - subject to meeting the qualifying conditions.

Your Housing Benefit or Housing Costs Element of your Universal Credit award will be reduced by;

14% if you have 1 spare bedroom

25% if you have 2 or more spare bedrooms

Please note there are further regulations that govern foster carers, adopted children, students and people who are in the Armed Forces.

Please contact your Rent Collection Officer/Financial Inclusion Officer at Rykneld Homes if you are affected by the under– occupation charge and have any queries about it or if you are struggling to pay.  We can help you check that the charge has been applied correctly and you may be able to get help by applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment. Please contact us for more information.

In addition if you are unable to share a bedroom with your partner because of an illness or disability, if you have children with disabilities who are unable to share a bedroom, or if you need a bedroom for an overnight carer you may qualify for additional help. Please contact us and we can advise you further.

How To Pay The Under-Occupation Charge 

If you claim housing benefit, any benefit entitlement will be paid directly onto your rent account minus the deduction for the under-occupation charge. Your Rent Collection Officer will be able to advise you of the amount that you need to pay.

If you claim Universal Credit you will have any housing costs that you are entitled to receive paid directly to yourself minus the deduction for the under-occupation charge . You are responsible for paying the full monthly rent onto your rent account.