Tenants living in council or housing association homes with one or more bedrooms which are not occupied could receive a reduced amount of Housing Benefit. This is officially called the Under-Occupancy Charge but more commonly know as the Bedroom Tax.
However, the Scottish Government is currently providing funding to councils to offset the effects of this charge.
This could affect you if:
- You are aged from 16-61
- You are receiving only a small amount of Housing Benefit, if for example you are working
- You are sick or disabled
You won’t be affected if:
- You live in a one-bedroomed flat or bedsit
- You or your partner is old enough to receive pension credits. The pension credit age is currently 61 years and six months.
What is a spare bedroom?
You will lose part of your Housing Benefit if you have more bedrooms than you need. A bedroom is allocated for:
- Each adult couple
- Any other person aged 16 or over
- Two children of the same sex aged under 16
- Two children aged under 10, regardless of their sex
- Any other child
- A carer who does not normally live with you if your or your partner need overnight care.
The new rules will still apply even if:
- You and your partner need to sleep apart because of a medical condition
- Your children live most of the time at another address but use a spare room when they stay with you
What happens if you have a spare room?
For one spare room your Housing Benefit will be cut by 14 per cent of the rent you pay each week.
If you have two or more bedrooms, you will lose 25 per cent.
You will then have to pay your landlord the difference between your Housing Benefit and your rent. Find out more about the Bedroom Tax on the Gov UK website