The Bedroom Tax in Cumbernauld
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Welcome

Welcome to Cumbernauld Media's 'Bedroom Tax' information page; you can use this page to find essential information about the under-occupancy charge; information including key contacts, who it affects, what you can do if affected by it, and a number of examples and exceptions to the Bedroom Tax.



Part of a welfare shake-up

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 seen the UK Government shake-up the British welfare system in a manner never before seen; almost every benefit will have at least one alteration made to the terms and conditions of receipt; peoples’ entitlement; and, payment details. And, perhaps the most well-known of the changes in the under-occupancy charge, dubbed the ‘bedroom tax’, colloquially. 

The bedroom tax was official as of April 2013 and sees social housing tenants’ housing benefit payments cut if they are deemed to be under-occupying their property. However, the new government measure only affects those in receipt of housing benefit or local housing allowance and the changes do not currently affect those of pensionable age.

The bedroom tax criteria takes into account the number of bedrooms in the property and the number of people living there, and if a property is deemed to be bigger than the tenant needs, the under-occupancy charge will be applied.

How it works and applied

Under the current rules, a tenant assessed as having 1 extra bedroom they will be liable to pay 14% of their eligible rent – a 14% reduction in their housing benefit or local housing allowance, in other words. Otherwise, a tenant who is assessed as having 2 or more extra bedrooms will be liable to pay 25% of their eligible rent – a 25% reduction in their housing benefit or local housing allowance, in other words. Regardless, in both cases, the tenant will be expected to make up the difference themselves.

According to the UK Government website you can claim 1 bedroom for:
  • each single adult;
  • each couple;
  • all children of the same gender under 16;
  • all children under 10 (regardless of gender);
  • each disabled tenant;
  • each partner needing an external overnight carer;
  • all foster children (also applies when no foster children live with you as long as the room isn’t empty for more than 52 weeks);
  • each foster child that can’t share a bedroom because of a disability or medical condition (contact your local council with medical evidence);
  • each adult child in the Armed Forces or each reservist;
  • all external carers who provide overnight care for you or your partner.

The rules applied - what it means

The rules attached to the bedroom tax are laid out below.

Children: Any child under sixteen years of age is expected to share with another child of the same gender, with an under 10-year-old child anticipated to share with another child, regardless of gender.

Furthermore, in cases where parents have joint custody of children, only one parent will be permitted – or ‘allowed’ – bedrooms for their children, with this parent deemed to be the one who receives child benefit/tax credits, and the other parent will be considered to be under occupying if they currently have extra bedrooms for their children.

Under the new rules, and following court action, disabled children are now eligible to be considered for a room for themselves.

Foster parent/Kinship carers: According to the rules attached to the bedroom tax, foster parents/ kinship carers will be allowed one additional bedroom to accommodate a foster child(ren), as long as they have fostered a child or become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months.

Adult children in armed forces: The bedroom tax rules illustrate that adult children who are in the armed forces but who continue to live with parents will be treated as continuing to live at home, when deployed on operations.

Live-in carers: Current rules surrounding the bedroom tax state that if someone requires a live-in carer, they will be allowed a bedroom for the carer. And, in some circumstances people with a disability, who do not have a live in carer, may be allowed to have their own room.

Bedroom Tax application examples

North Lanarkshire Council have created three model examples of who would be affected by the bedroom tax. They are taken from the authority’s website, here, and are displayed below.

A couple aged 56 years renting a 2 bedroom property will be assessed as under occupying by 1 bedroom and will be liable to pay 14% of their eligible rent.
A couple aged 47 years with a son aged 11 years, renting a 4 bedroom property, will be assessed as under occupying by 2 bedrooms and will be liable to pay 25% of their eligible rent.
A lone parent aged 42 years with twin daughters aged 15 renting a 3 bedroom tenancy will be assessed as under occupying by 1 bedroom and will be liable to pay 14%.of their eligible rent.

Options for those affected

Affected by the bedroom tax? Here’s a guide of your options – according to North Lanarkshire Council.

You can pay the difference in your benefit and stay in your tenancy;
Think about moving to a smaller tenancy;
Or, alternatively, you can think about sub-letting a room. However, doing this may affect the amount of housing benefit you receive - if in doubt, seek advice first.

Helpful contacts

Still need help? Well, perhaps these people can help:

UK Government benefit enquiry line Freephone: 0800 882 200;
Cumbernauld Citizen’s Advice Bureau: 01236 723 201;
Jobcentre Plus telephone: 0800 055 6688;
North Lanarkshire Council, Cumbernauld Housing and Council Tax Benefit advice line: 01236 856420;
North Lanarkshire Council, Cumbernauld Reception Services: 01236 638700;
North Lanarkshire Council, Your Money Information Line: 01698 403170;
North Lanarkshire Council, Cumbernauld Money Advice: 01236 638905;
North Lanarkshire Council website, A-Z guide of benefits. Click here;
North Lanarkshire Council website, Online benefit calculator. Click here;
UK Government, House Benefit. Click here.