The Government introduced strict rules regarding the size of property you need. If you are seen to be living in a property that is too big for you, your housing benefit payment will be reduced and you will have to pay some/ more rent.
If your housing benefit is cut you will have to pay the difference yourself out of your benefits or wages.
What is a ‘spare bedroom’?
Under the new rules if you have more bedrooms than the Government says you need, you will lose part of your housing benefit. The new rules mean you will be allocated 1 bedroom for:
√ each adult couple
√ Any other person aged 16 or over
√ Two children of the same sex under the age of 16
√ Two children under the age of 10 regardless of their sex
√ Any other child
√ A carer (who does not normally live with you) if you or your partner need overnight care
It does not matter how the ‘spare’ bedroom is used, the new rules will apply even if:
√ you and your partner need to sleep apart because of a medical condition
√ the main residence of your children is another address, but you have a spare room for when they stay with you.
Who will be affected?
People of working age and claiming housing benefit. These changes will not effect you if you are of pension age.
√ if you are 16 to 61 years old
√ even if you only get a small amount of housing benefit – for example, if you are working
√ even if you are sick or disabled
How much will I have to pay myself from April 2013?
If you have one more bedroom than the new rules say you need your Housing Benefit will be cut by 14%. If you have two or more spare bedrooms it will be cut by 25%.
For example if your rent is £100 per week and at the moment all of your rent is covered by Housing Benefit and under the new rules if you have one extra bedroom you will have to pay £14 per week, if you have two extra bed rooms you will have to pay £25.
What can you do now...
If you feel you will not be able to afford to pay the extra amount and want to move to a smaller property please contact your local office to discuss your options.
You can also register an interest in exchanging your property on www.homeswapper.co.uk