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Social sector size criteria

From April 2013 there has been a change in the way housing benefit is calculated if you live in accommodation rented to you by a local authority, registered housing association or other registered provider of social housing and you are classed as being working age.

The changes mean that a reduction will be made to the amount of rent that we use to calculate your claim for benefit.

  • A 14% reduction will be made to your maximum rent if you under occupy your home by one bedroom.
  • A 25% reduction will be made to your maximum rent if you under occupy your home by two or more bedrooms.

The  rules will allow you one bedroom for each of:

  • 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 (but not a child whose main home is elsewhere)
  • a carer (or team of carers) who do not live with you but provide you or your partner with overnight care

We cannot account for rooms being used for other purposes or for rooms that you may consider to be too small. For example, if you are a couple with no-one else in your home and if your landlord classes your home as two bedrooms but you use one as a dining room or as a storage room, you will be classed as under occupying by one bedroom and will get a restriction of 14% of the rent.

The size limit rules will not apply to:

  • Non-Mainstream accommodation – If you pay mooring charges for house boats and site charges for caravans and mobile homes as well as various “excluded tenancies”
  • Temporary accommodation – If you have been accepted as homeless under homelessness legislation of the Housing Act 1996 and placed in temporary accommodation by the local authority
  • Shared ownership – If you part own/part rent your home
  • Supported “exempt” accommodation – If you live in a property run by housing associations or charities which provide care/support or supervision.


page ref: SDDC 601