Under-occupancy

Under Occupancy applies to people living in housing association or council properties. It means you are seen to have one or more ‘spare’ bedroom and your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit might be reduced. This is also commonly known as ‘Bedroom Tax’.

 

Who is affected?

  • People aged between 16 and guaranteed pension credit age
  • People with health/disability conditions
  • People who get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, even if it’s only a partial payment (e.g. you work part-time)

If you are of working age, have a disability, and need a ‘spare’ bedroom so that a carer can stay overnight, or cannot share a bedroom with your partner because of your disability, you should contact Radian’s Welfare Benefits Officers on 0300 123 1 567 for further advice, or contact your local council.

 

What are the bedroom entitlements?

Each of the following are allowed one bedroom:

  • Each adult couple
  • Any other person aged 16 or over*
  • Two children of the same sex under 16
  • Two children under the age of 10 regardless of sex
  • Any other child
  • A carer, who does not normally live with you if you, your partner or a child need overnight care.

*In Universal Credit, a lodger is not entitled to a bedroom of their own and an under-occupation deduction will still apply. Instead, none of the rent that they pay you will be taken into account when your Universal Credit is worked out. If you have more bedrooms than the new rules allow for your family, you have a ‘spare’ bedroom, even if this bedroom is being used to sleep in. This applies if the main residence of your child(ren) is another address but you have the room for when they stay with you.

If you have more bedrooms than the new rules allow for your family, you have a ‘spare’ bedroom, even if this bedroom is being used to sleep in. This includes:

  • You or your partner to sleep separately in because of a medical condition
  • The main residence of your child(ren) is another address but you have the room for when they stay with you.

 

What happens if you have a spare room?

  • A household with one spare room will face a reduction in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit of 14% of their rent 
  • A household with two spare rooms will face a reduction in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit of 25% of their rent

 

What can you do if you are affected?

If you are affected by under occupancy and have a ‘spare’ room, please contact one of our Tenancy Sustainment Officers, who may be able to help you with:

  • Getting back into or starting work. They can refer you to our Employment, Support and Training team who can assist with this
  • Applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment or exemption
  • Assisting with applying for a transfer to a smaller property
  • Registering you on Homeswapper to look for a mutual exchange. To look at what properties are available, visit the Homeswapper website
  • Assisting with applying for a transfer to a smaller property

 

Other things to consider

  • If you are in employment, could you increase your hours to make up the shortfall in rent?
  • Consider a lodger. If you have a spare room you may wish to take in a lodger to make up the shortfall in rent and help towards household bills (Radian’s permission is needed for this). If you are considering taking in a lodger, advice can be found at www.spareroom.co.uk

Contacts available for more information

  • Speak to one of our Welfare Benefit Officers – 0300 123 1 567
  • Department for Work & Pensions – www.gov.uk / 0800 917 2222
  • Citizens Advice Bureau – www.citizensadvice.org.uk / 08444 111 444
  • Turn2Us – www.turn2us.org.uk / 0808 802 2000
  • Specific charities e.g. MS Society, Age UK and more

How can we help?