Under Occupancy Charge
From April 2013 the Government are introducing a charge which will apply to social housing tenants who are of working age (below pension credit qualifying age) and have one or more spare bedrooms. This means that housing benefit will be reduced by 14% for one spare bedroom and by 25% for two or more bedrooms. The number of people living in a property together with their age and gender will determine how many spare bedrooms there are.
For example, if you have a weekly rent charge of £73.85 and you are under occupying by two bedrooms, your housing benefit could be reduced by up to £18.46 a week. If you are under occupying by one bedroom, your housing benefit could be reduced by up to £10.34 a week.
An option that some tenants may wish to consider is taking in a lodger. This could help manage the Under Occupancy Charge. Tenants are advised to obtain independent advice on how the income from a lodger could affect their other benefits.
If tenants decide to have a lodger they must inform Gateway Housing Association. The Tenancy Agreement states that:
Right to take in lodgers and to sub-let your home
Only secure tenants have the right to take in lodgers, but:
- You must tell the Benefits Office that you have lodgers if you are in receipt of housing benefit. This may affect the amount of benefit you are entitled to
- Your lodger will not have security of tenure like you
- You will be responsible for legally evicting your lodger if you want him or her to leave
Check these useful websites for more information: