Bedroom tax

The rules for calculating the number of bedrooms a renter is entitled to when calculating the housing costs element is set out in Schedule 4 to the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 (SI.No.376/2013).

NB: See below for equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland.

Interpretation of terms

Paragraph 2 of Schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Sets out the meaning of terms used, including extended benefit unit, renter and shared accommodation.

Relevant occupants

Paragraphs 8 and 9 of Schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Provide for the number of bedrooms allowed to be determined with reference to the number of people in the renter’s extended benefit unit.

Number of bedrooms

Paragraph 10(1) of Schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Lists the categories of occupier who are entitled to a bedroom.

Meeting more than one occupier category

Paragraph 10(2) of Schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Provides for room allocation when a member of the extended benefit unit appears twice in the list.

Temporary absences

Paragraph 11 of Schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Provides for when absences of the renter or their partner, child, or non-dependant will not affect the room allocation.

Additional bedroom

Paragraph 12 of Schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Provides for when a renter is entitled to an additional bedroom by satisfying the foster parent or adopter condition, the overnight care condition, the disabled child condition, or the disabled person condition.

Maximum number of bedrooms

Paragraph 26 of Schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Provides for the maximum number of bedrooms for renters in the private rented sector.

Single claimants under 35

Paragraph 27 of Schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Provides for restrictions of the housing costs element for single claimants under 35 and for exemptions from the restriction.

Effect on housing costs element calculation

Paragraphs 25 and 36 of Schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Paragraph 25 provides that the size criteria calculation determines the local housing allowance accommodation category for private renters or renters in temporary accommodation; while paragraph 36 provides for the rate of deductions for social rented sector renters who are deemed to be under occupying.

In Northern Ireland, SR.No.216/2016 makes provisions that are largely equivalent to that in Great Britain.

Further explanation of the legislation is set out in guidance. Please note, however, guidance is not binding and cannot override the legislation.

Advice for decision making

Chapter F3

Sets out guidance for decision makers on the housing costs element including on the bedroom tax.

DWP guidance from

The size criteria for renters

​Guidance to DWP staff on the bedroom tax and private rented sector housing.

Case law​ provides further interpretation of the legislation and establishes legal precedent.

Upper Tribunal

[2017] UKUT 443 (AAC)

Whether a room needs to be able to accommodate a separate bedside table and clothes storage to be classed as a bedroom.

Upper Tribunal

[2023] UKUT 176 (AAC)

Meaning of ‘care’ and whether it must be required in order to establish entitlement to an additional bedroom for an overnight carer