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Major changes to the welfare system have taken place. Many people will see their benefit payments go down. Please see benefit changes for more information. The change that may affect you as a council tenant is under occupation (bedroom tax).
If you are aged between 16 and pension credit age and have spare bedrooms your housing benefit has been reduced.
- If you have one extra bedroom your housing benefit has gone down by 14% (about £12 a week).
- If you have two or more extra bedrooms your housing benefit has gone down by 25% (about £22 a week).
Examples of under occupation include:
- A couple living in a two bedroom flat.
- A couple with one child living in a three bedroom house.
There are some exceptions.We have written to everyone who has been affected by this change.
Rooms for children
Children are not necessarily allowed a room to themselves.
- Children under 10 years old are expected to share with another child, regardless of their sex.
- Children under 16 are expected to share, if they are the same sex.
What counts as a bedroom?
There is no legal definition of how large a room needs to be, to be counted as a bedroom. We have used the 1985 Housing Act to make the decision that any bedroom under 50 square feet will not be considered suitable and thus not be counted.
What do I need to do if the record you have of my bedrooms is wrong?
- If you think the size of any bedroom is under 50 square feet measure the length of room and multiply by the width of the room. If the size is less than 50 square foot please contact us on 0117 922 2200 (option three).
- In our letter to you we set out the number of bedrooms you have against the number you need. If you think the figures we have are wrong please contact us on 0117 922 2200 (option three).
Pay the difference and stay where you are
- For all the ways that you can pay please see council housing: paying your rent or other housing payments.
- If there are other adult family members or friends who live with you, you could ask them to make an extra payment towards the rent.
- For advice on budgeting please see council housing: having difficulty paying your rent.
Increase your income
You could try to increase your working hours or look for a job. For advice on employment please see the Ways2Work website.
Move to a smaller home
- You could apply for a transfer. Please see council tenants: applying for a transfer.
- You could apply for an exchange through Home Swapper. Please see council tenants: exchanging your home.
Having difficulty paying your rent
- You must pay your rent or you risk losing your home. If you are struggling to pay, advice is available. Please see council housing: having difficulty paying your rent.
- In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply for help through a discretionary housing payment, but usually for a short time only.
- For information please see our making a claim for discretionary housing payments factsheet (pdf, 56 KB)(opens new window).
- To apply complete a discretionary housing payment application form (pdf, 133 KB)(opens new window) and send it to Housing and Council Tax Benefits, PO Box 43, Bristol, BS99 1BF.
- For more information please see our discretionary housing payment policy (pdf, 116 KB)(opens new window).
Take in a lodger
- You may want to consider renting your spare room to a lodger. If you decide to do this, please contact Housing Benefit on 0117 922 2300, as it might affect the amount of housing benefit you get.
- For more information please see our renting out your spare room factsheet (pdf, 72 KB)(opens new window).
If you have any questions please contact the Rent Management Service or the Benefits Service. You can contact the Benefits Service by:
- Telephone: 0117 922 2300, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6pm
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pay for it, Apply for it
Rent Management Service PO Box 595 (SAH) Bristol, BS99 2AW Opening Hours
Open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6pm
You can speak to someone face to face by telephoning the Rent Management Service and ask for an appointment or you can visit any of the Customer Service Points
- Email: email@example.com
- Work: 0117 922 2200
- Text phone: 0117 357 4444
- Fax: 0117 352 5033