You will normally be overcrowded where one or more of the following apply:
There may be exceptional cases where separate bedrooms for household members may be needed on medical or social grounds. This will need to be confirmed by a professional.
Please note that if you are successful in bidding for a housing association property with an additional bedroom, you may not be eligible for a higher rate of housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit. You may be considered as under-occupying (having a spare bedroom).
Where a household applies to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council as homeless, the council must decide whether they are homeless under section 175 of the Housing Act 1996. In reaching a decision, the council will consider whether a household is statutorily overcrowded and whether it is reasonable for a household to continue to occupy their accommodation. Where it is determined by the council that statutory overcrowding exists, under section 177(2) of the Housing Act 1996, the council may also consider the general housing circumstances within the borough.
There is a shortage of social housing in the borough and it can take a long time to secure this type of housing. You should consider trying to improve your current living arrangements whilst you wait for more suitable accommodation. Are you able to:
You may have a reduction in your housing benefit entitlement or the housing element of universal credit if:
This is due to under-occupation rules introduced by the government in April 2013. You may have heard this called the bedroom tax.
You should be aware of the following:
If you live in a housing association home and claim housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit, they will assess whether you are under-occupied. If you are, there will be a percentage reduction to your housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit. This will depend on how many rooms you are under occupying. If it is decided that you have more bedrooms than the rules allow you will have to make up the difference regardless of what the extra room is used for:
For example, Mr and Mrs Jones live in a two-bedroom housing association flat costing £70 per week in rent and receive maximum housing benefit or housing element of universal credit of £70 per week. From April 2013 the amount of eligible rent used in the calculation would be reduced by 14% or £9.80. This is because their second bedroom is regarded as a spare room under the new rules and they are considered to be under-occupying. Therefore, the maximum housing benefit or housing element of universal credit that Mr and Mrs Jones can receive is £60.20 per week.
If you have any queries or have been affected by these changes it is important that you contact the housing benefit department or the DWP regarding your universal credit on 0800 328 5644. Further information relating to universal credit can be found by visiting the GOV.UK universal credit page.
The under-occupation rules will not affect you or your partner if you have reached pension credit age.
The reduction in housing benefit entitlement or the housing element of universal credit for households with extra bedrooms also will not apply to:
You could consider:
Rent out your spare bedroom(s)
With the agreement of your landlord you may be able to take in a lodger to fill any unoccupied room(s). This would mean your spare room would not be treated as unoccupied for the purposes of applying for housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit. You will not be affected by the under-occupation rules. You may find you are better off due to the additional income.
Have family members contribute more
If you have non-dependants living in your home the excess rent you are now responsible for could be covered through their rent contributions.
Look for work/increase hours
Look for work or increasing working hours to increase your income and help to cover any reduction.
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