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Bedroom Tax

Bedroom Tax

SKU: 2.15
  • Advice

    What is the bedroom tax?

    The bedroom tax is a more common name for the “Under Occupancy Charge”, in effect it reduces your housing benefit because you have spare rooms. The idea was to free off larger properties for families and move single persons to smaller housing units. Problems exist when a family splits and one person is left in a multiple bedroom house on their own. The main issue is that the housing association or council may have no one-bedroom housing. As such they are stuck – their benefit is reduced because of the spare rooms, and they cannot take in lodgers (prohibited under housing association or council rules).

    Lestons has seen this conundrum several times and we have helped represent such clients, explaining the situation to the council to seek workable solutions or financial assistance to counter the reduction via the “Discretionary Housing Payments” scheme.


    If you have a secure council tenancy from the council (or secure housing association tenancy) then you are allowed to take in a lodger. If not, you can ask a friend or family member to move in but on the premise that they are there purely as a guest (and as such there must be no record of rent received, even though the deduction assumes they will pay rent). There are special rules for disabled / students etc.


    You can expect a cut in housing benefit (or the universal credit housing element) if you are a council or housing association tenant, of working age (if you are of pensionable age, you won`t be affected).


    What is the reduction

    At the time of writing (December 2021) you can expect a loss of around 14% if you have one spare room, and 25% if you have 2 or more spare rooms. Council staff are not concerned about how you will be able to afford the shortfall.


    How we can help

    Lestons can liaise with the housing association/council to try and work out a fair solution, if you simply have no alternative but to stay in your current home because of the unavailability of smaller units then there may be some leeway to arrange different accommodation solutions. We would make every attempt to persuade the council to cover the potential shortfall via an application under their Discretionary Housing Payments scheme.


    Other potential solutions could include the council agreeing to cover the rent of a one-bedroom flat from the private sector to free off your current multi-bedroom home. Other solutions are of course possible, including offering you accommodation in a cheaper area. To gain our assistance you need to open a case, this is done by simply clicking on the link at the top of the page, you will then need to deposit a sum equal to one hour’s usage, upon receipt of these funds you will be assigned your personal caseworker who will telephone you to discuss the matter and make suggestions on how to proceed.


    Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by our legal team and to act as your point of contact, they will also issue you with your Password and PIN, these will be needed to log onto your client dashboard. From your dashboard you will be able to manage and view every aspect of your case, upload documents, images, files etc.

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