From April 2013, the amount of Housing Benefit paid to council tenants who:
- are in receipt of Housing Benefit,
- are of working age (under state pension age use the external links on this page to see if you apply)
- have more bedrooms in their home than needed (this is called Under Occupancy) will be reduced.
How this may affect you
You are likely to be affected if you are:
- a single person or a couple in a property with two or more bedrooms
- a single person with access to children in a property with two or more bedrooms
- a family with two boys or two girls under 16 in a property with three or more bedrooms
- a family with a boy and a girl aged under 10 in a property with three or more bedrooms
- if you are pregnant and have an extra room for the expected child, you are under occupying until the child is born.
These are examples, and other households may be affected too.
All tenants who are likely to be affected by the changes will be contacted by their housing office.
What this means to you
Depending on your circumstances, you could lose some or all of your Housing Benefit. If you are unable to pay your rent, you could lose your home.
- if you have one more bedroom than required, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by 14% of your rent, or around £10 per week
- if you have two or more extra bedrooms than required, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by 25% of your rent, or around £18 per week
The options available to you
You have a number of options to help you stay in your home or to move to a smaller property.
Your landlord will contact you to discuss your options in more detail, including:
- covering the shortfall from other personal income
- trying to find work or increasing your working hours
- taking in a lodger or another family member to help pay the rent – (please speak to your housing office to discuss this and obtain permission before you allow anyone to move into your home)
- making a claim for Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the shortfall (there is limited funding available and you may not be eligible)
- moving to private rented property
- moving to a smaller council or housing association property through a mutual exchange or the Leeds Homes Register.
Please note we do not have enough homes for everyone who may wish to move, and you may have to wait a long time to find a suitable property. You will still be responsible for paying your rent during this time.
Before accepting a property, you need to consider if you will be affected by these changes.
You will be affected if:
- you have a bedroom for a child that you have part time access to
- you need space for medical equipment
- your children need their own bedroom due to medical or disability needs
- you are pregnant and need a room for your baby
- you are a single person or couple living in a two or more bedroom property
- the property is larger than you need according to the changes.
If you are affected, you need to consider whether you can afford to make up the shortfall in your rent (if you are in receipt of Housing Benefit), and how you would pay the shortfall at anytime during the term of your tenancy.
In some circumstances you may be able to claim Discretionary Housing Payment to help make up the shortfall, for example:
- you are an approved foster carer
- you live in a property which has been adapted to meet your needs
Please discuss any concerns you have with a member of staff before signing for the property.