Bedroom tax

In April 2013 new rules were introduced restricting the size of the property you can receive benefit for, based on the size of your household.

Officially called the 'removal of the spare room subsidy' or 'under-occupancy penalty', it became commonly known as the bedroom tax.

Under these rules, you are allowed one bedroom for:

  • every adult couple, married or unmarried
  • any other adult aged 16 or over
  • any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • any two children aged under 10
  • any other child (other than a foster child or child whose main home is elsewhere)
  • children who can't share because of a disability or medical condition
  • a carer (or team of carers) who provide overnight care

You are also allowed one spare bedroom for:

  • approved foster carers who currently have no child living with them, for up 52 weeks from their approval or the end of their last placement
  • students or members of the armed forces who are away but intend to return home

These rules affect you:

  • if you are 16 to 61 years old
  • if you get even a small amount of Housing Benefit - for example, if you are working

You aren't affected:

  • if you live in a one bedroom flat or bedsit
  • if you live in a shared ownership property
  • if you or your partner are old enough to receive Pension Credit

If you live in a home with more bedrooms than your family is considered to need, then your Housing Benefit or housing element of Universal Credit will be cut. For one ‘spare’ room, your benefit will be cut by 14% of your rent, and for two or more ‘spare’ rooms, it will be cut by 25%.

The actual amount of benefit you lose will depend upon the amount of rent you pay. 

Moving to a smaller property

If your benefits are cut and you don't think you can cover the shortfall in your rent, you could look at moving to a smaller property.

However, there is a national shortage of small properties. You may have to join a waiting list and there is no guarantee when a suitable property will become available. 

If you want to move, contact us as soon as possible. Tell us what type of home you are looking for and where you want to live and we will try to match you with a suitable available property. Vacancies are usually limited and we can only make you three reasonable offers of alternative accommodation. If you refuse all three offers, we will review your case with you and talk through the other options available.

You can also look at mutual exchange, where you find another person to swap homes with. Or you can apply to move to another property through your local choice-based lettings (CBL) scheme(s)

Pay your rent at a time to suit you

You can pay your rent or view a rent statement at any time using Your Waterloo

If you have a rent query or are having trouble paying your rent, our Rents Team are available during the following times:

Monday 8:30 - 5:00
Tuesday 8:30 - 7:30
Wednesday 8:30 - 7:30
Thursday 8:30 - 7:30
Friday 8:30 - 5:00
Saturday 9:00 - 3:00

To speak to someone from our Rents Team, please call 0800 435 016 and select 'option 3' or email

Easier ways to pay your rent

We work with allpay to offer you a range of easy, safe and flexible ways to pay your rent.

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