Bedroom tax will not affect you if there is no Housing Benefit claim for your household.
Bedroom tax will not affect all Housing Benefit claimants. The Government states that if you or your partner were born before 5 October 1951 (the qualifying age for pension credit in April 2013) you will not be affected.
You will not be affected if you have shared ownership, or if you are a resident of 1-bedroom property.
The draft bedroom tax rules say that:
• Single people over 16 need a bedroom to themselves, but all couples are expected to share a bedroom. So, a couple without children in a 2-bedroom property will be under-occupying one bedroom for Housing Benefit.
• Two children under the age of 10, or two children of the same gender aged 11 to 15, are expected to share one bedroom. So, for example, a family in a 3-bedroom property with a boy aged 7 and a girl aged 9 will also be under-occupying one bedroom for Housing Benefit, but not when the daughter turns 10.
• A child is entitled to a bedroom if they are the only child in the household or if there is no other child that the rules say they have to share with.
• The rent eligible to be paid by Housing Benefit will reduce by 14% if one bedroom is under-occupied.
• The rent eligible to be paid by Housing Benefit will reduce by 25% if two or more bedrooms are under-occupied. This is the maximum bedroom tax deduction rate.
It is important to add that:
• The 14% or 25% reduction is based on the rent eligible to be paid by Housing Benefit, not the amount of Housing Benefit actually paid. This means that if you receive partial Housing Benefit you will have exactly the same reduction for under-occupancy in cash terms as someone receiving full Housing Benefit.
• You do not actually have to have an unused bedroom to be affected by bedroom tax.
• The rules do not refer to the size of bedrooms. A bedroom will always count as a bedroom for Housing Benefit no matter how small.
• Existing Housing Benefit and new Housing Benefit claims will not be treated differently. There is generally no exemption from bedroom tax if you have been living in your home for a long time, however in December 2013 it emerged that there was an error in the new regulations. Tenancies begun before 1st January 1996 and where no break in Housing Benefit greater than four weeks exists are temporarily exempt and can seek a credit of Housing Benefit.
• Children who have a main address elsewhere, for example because parents live separately, are not counted at the secondary address for Housing Benefit, and a bedroom that they use at that secondary address will not count as occupied.