Newark and Sherwood Homes Limited
Kelham Hall, Kelham
Newark On Trent,
Notts, NG23 5QX
Tel: 0845 258 5550

Newark and Sherwood Homes

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Under Occupancy Charge (Bedroom Tax)

From 1 April 2013, if you have more bedrooms than the Government says you need, you will lose part of your housing benefit and you will generally have to make up the difference yourself.

How will this affect tenants who are under occupying their home?  If you have:

  1. One extra bedroom your Housing Benefit will reduce by 14% - on average £11 per week.
  2. Two or more extra bedrooms your Housing Benefit will reduce by 25% - on average £20 per week.

One bedroom is allowed for: 

  • Each adult couple (or single adult)
  • Any other person aged 16 or over
  • Two children of the same sex under the age of 16
  • Two children under the age of 10, regardless of their gender
  • Any other child
  • A carer, or a team of carers who do not live at the property but provide the tenant or their partner with overnight care.
  • A foster carer will be allowed only one additional bedroom as long as they have fostered a child or became a registered foster carer in the past 12 months.
  • Parents with adult children in the armed forces (or reservists) who normally live with them may be able to retain a bedroom for that adult child whilst they are deployed on operations (as long as it is their intention is to return to the property).

Circumstances where the under occupancy charge may not apply:

  • If a student’s main residency is their parents’ home, then their bedroom may not be considered as spare
  • Where under-occupancy arose due to a death, a year’s grace is allowed so that the bereaved family has some time to come to terms with their loss.
  • Homeless people living in certain types of temporary accommodation made available under specified legislation may not be affected.

What if a property has been adapted to cater for a disability?

There is no exception to the under occupation charge on these grounds.  If there is a reason that an extra room is necessary you may make a claim for extra help from the Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme (DHP).  Further details are available from Newark and Sherwood District Council Benefits team by calling: 01636 65000 or  email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it     

What if a child has a disability and is unable to share a room?

For further information, contact Newark and Sherwood District Council Benefits team by calling: 01636 65000 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

What happens where parents share the care of a child?

In circumstances where parents do not live together but share care, the children will be treated as living with the parent who is treated as responsible for them and provides their main home e.g. the person who is receiving Child Benefit for them.

The parent who is not considered to provide the main home will not be entitled to receive Housing Benefit for an extra room for children.

Protection for people who lose their job and claim Housing Benefit

If a tenant has not made a claim to Housing Benefit within the last 52 weeks and has been able to afford their rent, the size limit rules will not be applied for the first 13 weeks.  If they move home or have another change of circumstances, within that 13 weeks period, the size limit rules will apply from when that happens.

What about the size of a bedroom?

The size of a bedroom is not taken into account by the Local Authority Housing Benefit Section when applying the under occupation rules.

If you are affected by the under occupation charge it is important that you pay your rent when it is due.  If you fail to do so, you are at risk of losing your home.  Some other options you may want to consider:

What action can you take?   

  • Review your budget – so your budget works for you.  Consider the information available from the Money Advice Service

  • Consider the many ways you can pay rent - There are a  range of ways to pay rent - including by direct debit

  • Get help with managing debt: Consider other national and local organisations helplines and websites.

  • A range of information is available from the Money Advice Service
  • Contact us, we can refer you to:
  • Sherwood and Newark Citizens Advice – for free face to face or telephone support at New Ollerton and Newark
  • Framework with sessions available in Newark, New Ollerton, Rainworth or Blidworth.
  • Try to maximise your income – Are you claiming what you’re entitled to?
  • Try using the Benefit Calculator

  • Or find help with finding work by signing up for Universal Job match  

  • Think about moving – there are a number of ways to try to do this.  

    1. Mutual Exchange - you can try to find someone to swap your property with by registering your details with Homeswapper.  If you are successful in finding someone to swap with it is important that you get permission from Newark and Sherwood Homes before you arrange to move.
    2. Transfer to a smaller property – you can make an application to transfer and bid for a new home using Easylet.   For an application form or further information please contact us
  • Take in a lodger – to use your extra bedroom.

For some people offering a spare room to a lodger may be a sensible option.  A lodger is normally a person living in your home, sharing your facilities but under a formal arrangement, usually a written agreement.  Before taking in a lodger please consider information that you may find useful                         

  • What’s the position if you are claiming means tested benefits?

You need to be aware that taking in a lodger could affect the amount of Housing Benefit you are entitled to. For further advice, contact Newark and Sherwood District Council Housing Benefit Section by calling: 01636 65000 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Insurance arrangements

You need to be aware that if you have contents insurance arranged by Newark and Sherwood Homes your policy will not cover damage to your lodger’s possessions.  If you are a Newark and Sherwood Homes tenant you will need to write to us and your insurers to let us know that you are considering taking in a lodger.

 

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