If you claim housing benefit to help pay your rent you may be affected by changes from April 2013. The changes mean that some people will get less housing benefit than they did before.
From April 2013, if you live in a housing association home and you have one or more 'spare' bedroom your housing benefit may be reduced.
This could affect you:
- 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.
You won't be affected if:
- You live in a one bedroom flat or bedsit, or
- You or your partners are old enough to receive pension credits. In April 2013 the pension credit age will be around 61 years and 6 months.
What happens if you have a 'spare' bedroom?
If you have one spare bedroom your housing benefit will be cut by 14% of the rent you pay every week. If you have two or more spare bedrooms, you will lose 25%. If your benefit is cut you will have to pay your landlord the difference between your housing benefit and your rent.
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 medical condition, or if the main residence of your children is another address, but you have a spare room for when they stay with you.
How will this affect me?
It is possible that the amount of Housing Benefit you get to pay your rent could go down. If your Housing Benefit is paid directly to your landlord, the amount your landlord gets could go down. If you are getting or thinking of claiming Housing Benefit, you need to consider these changes before you renew or make a new tenancy agreement with a private landlord.