Under occupancy

Unused bedroom

From 1 April 2013, the Government has introduced size limit rules for Housing benefit for working age people renting from the Council, a registered housing association or other registered social landlord.

The new rules will restrict the size of accommodation you can receive Housing Benefit for, based on the number of people in your household.

The new rules allow 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 except a foster child or child whose main home is elsewhere
  • a carer or team of carers not living with you who provides overnight care. 

Please note that the Scottish Government are taking forward proposals to fund the gap caused by these rules. Further information will be posted here if and when the proposals progress. 

Will I be affected? 

It is possible that the amount of Housing Benefit you get to pay your rent and any service charges could go down.

If you are assessed under these rules as having more bedrooms than are necessary for your household you will be considered to be under-occupying that property.

If you are under occupying, there will be a reduction in your Housing Benefit. The amount allowed for rent and any service charges will be reduced by

  • 14% for under occupancy by 1 bedroom
  • 25% for under occupancy by 2 bedrooms or more. 

If you are thinking of moving you need to consider these changes before renewing or making a new tenancy agreement. 

You may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment to make up all or some of the reduction - please contact us about this or download the application form below.

When changes take effect

The new size limit rules are due to take effect on 1 April 2013. We will write to anyone affected to alert them to the fact they may be under-occupying and to confirm the information we hold. We will then write again to confirm any reduction in Housing Benefit and how much the reduction will be, before any such reduction takes effect.

It is important that you start to consider what your options might be now and, where necessary, talk to us or your landlord. 

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