Size Criteria for Social Sector Tenants

Claimants who live in social rented properties, including housing associations, charities and other non-profit making organisations, may face a restriction on the size of property that they can occupy for Housing Benefit purposes.

Bedroom Allocation

A bedroom is allocated for each of the following:

  • claimant and any partner
  • a person aged over 16 who is not the claimant or partner
  • two children of the same sex under 16
  • two children of different sex under 10
  • any other children (N.B. foster children are not taken into account)
  • a carer providing overnight care

Rate of Reduction

  • 14% of the eligible rent (including any services) where one bedroom under-occupied
  • 25% of the eligible rent (including any services) where two or more bedrooms are under-occupied

Joint Tenants

Joint tenants are assessed in the same way as any other claimant, in that the total number of bedrooms for the property is compared against the total number of persons occupying the entire property. No account will be taken as to how the joint tenants actually divide the property.

Cases Not Subject to the Rules

  • pension-age claimants
  • shared ownerships
  • mooring charges and site fees
  • temporary accommodation where the claimant has been placed by the local authority under its homeless responsibilities
  • supported accommodation where the claimant receives care, support and supervision provided by the landlord or someone acting on their behalf

What Can I do to Meet a Shortfall?

  • move to a smaller property
  • take in a lodger or boarder - please note that any income received may affect your benefit entitlement
  • ask family members such as non-dependants to pay more
  • move into work or increase hours
  • apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment

You may wish to contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for further information and assistance regarding managing your financial affairs.

Examples

Example 1:

A couple living in a three-bedroom property with two children aged one and three.

Rent is £60 plus service charges of £20 (£80 in total). £5 of the service charge is ineligible so total eligible rent is £75.

Applying the size criteria means that the household is deemed to be under-occupying by one bedroom. A 14% reduction of £10.50 is applied to the eligible rent of £75 resulting in housing benefit entitlement of £64.50.

Example 2:

A four-bedroom house is occupied by a couple, two girls under 10, and a son aged 18 who is employed.

Rent is £150 plus service charges of £50 (£200 in total). £200 of the service charges is ineligible so total eligible rent is £180.

A 14% reduction is applied because they are considered to be under-occupying by one bedroom under the size criteria rules.

The eligible rent of £180 is reduced by 14% to £154.80. A non-dependent deduction of £11.45 is applied in respect of the son after the percentage reduction is applied. Housing benefit is £154.80 minus £11.45, so £143.35.

Example 3:

Three adults jointly responsible for rent live in a four bedroom property The total eligible rent is £100 Applying the size criteria means that the household is deemed to be under-occupying by one bedroom.

A 14% under-occupancy reduction is made from the eligible rent of £100 (£100 minus £14) and then the remaining figure of £86 is apportioned three ways resulting in housing benefit entitlement for each tenant of £28.67.

Further Information

For further information, please contact Revenues:

Last updated on 30/07/2018

Contact the Revenues & Benefits team