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Under-Occupation for Social Housing Tenants

Working age tenants who have more bedrooms than they require will have a percentage reduction in the amount of rent used in their Housing Benefit calculation unless they fall with in the exempt groups outlined below:

Am I exempt?

  • If You, or your partner, are of Pension Credit qualifying age.

  • If You live in selected types of temporary accommodation.

  • If You have a shared ownership tenancy.

What is the size criteria:

You are allowed one bedroom for:

  • Every adult couple.

  • Any other adult (16 or over).

  • Any two children of the same sex aged under 16.

  • Two children under the age of 10 whether they are a boy or a girl.

  • Any other child.

  • A carer who does not normally live with you but provides you or your partner with overnight care.

You may qualify for an additional room where it can be demonstrated that: 

  • Two children would be unable to share a bedroom due to the disability needs or illness of one of the children. The Council will have to take into consideration the extent and regularity of the disturbance to the sleep of the child who would normally be required to share the bedroom, or

  • You are a Foster carer, whether or not a child has been placed with you or you are between placements, so long as you have fostered a child, or become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months, or

  • You have an adult son or daughter that normally lives with you but is currently serving in the Armed Forces, even when deployed on operations.

Extra bedroom for disabled couples unable to share a bedroom

An extra room can be allowed if a couple cannot share a bedroom because of a disability if:

  • They are unable to share a bedroom (they may be able to if they have two single beds) - it can be one or both disabled
  • If medical equipment is needed an extra room can be considered
  • One member of the couple must be in receipt of one of the following:
  1. Middle or higher rate care of disability living allowance
  2. Daily living personal independence payment
  3. Higher rate of attendance allowance
  4. Armed forces independence payment

 Further information relating to this can be found on the following link Bedroom Calculator for social housing tenants.

How much of my benefit will be cut?

  • If you have one 'spare' bedroom, your Housing Benefit will reduce by 14%.

  • If you have two or more 'spare' bedrooms your Housing Benefit will reduce by 25%.

What happens with Joint Tenancies?

Where a joint tenancy is held by tenants who are not a couple, for example 2 brothers or a mother and daughter, then each tenant can make a claim for housing benefit for their proportion of the rent. If the property is under-occupied the reduction will be applied to the full eligible rent before the rent is apportioned between each tenant.  

It is important to remember; in a joint tenancy each named person is jointly responsible for paying the full rent. If one joint tenant fails to pay, the other tenant remains responsible for ensuring the full rent is paid.   

Ways of meeting any shortfall in rent

If you are worried about paying your rent you should seek advice as soon as possible.

You may also wish to consider the following options

  • Pay the shortfall - You may feel you can afford to pay the shortfall in your Housing Benefit award out of the other income you receive.

  • Talk to your landlord - Speak to your landlord about the possibility of moving to a smaller home.

  • Consider taking in a lodger.This however mayaffect your benefits. You will need to talk to your landlord if you are thinking about this.

  • Go to Exchange Locata where you can register your details and search for properties that are more suitable for your needs so you can swap properties with someone else. Erewash Borough Council also has a Housing Options Team that could assist you in locating a smaller property, Call them on 0115 9072244, Extension 3590.

  • You can get in touch with you local Citizens Advice Bureau or other local advice agencies.

  • Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment - If you receive Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit and still find it difficult to pay the remaining rent due you could apply for Discretionary Housing Payment. This should only be seen as a temporary solution to help you cover a short period until your circumstances change.

  • Seek money management advice. A Money Advisor is available to help with personal budgeting, maximise benefits and help with debt management. Appointments and drop-in sessions are held at Ilkeston Town Hall on Fridays and Long Eaton Town Hall on Tuesdays. Please email moneyadvice@emhhomes.org.uk or benefits@erewash.gov.uk for an appointment.

More Advice and Support available can be located by clicking on the following agencies (will take you to their website).

dwp

gov.uk

cab11 DHA HOME OPTIONS National Debtline small 2810111

Erewash Borough Council

Erewash Borough Council, Town Hall, Wharncliffe Road, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, DE7 5RP 0115 907 2244