This blog answers the question “Do I Have To Pay Bedroom Tax On A Box Room?”The size of a box room is much smaller than a bedroom and does not conform to official requirements so you cannot be charged Bedroom Tax On A Box Room.

Do I Have To Pay Bedroom Tax On A Box Room?

No, you are not required to pay bedroom tax on a box room and the rent for a box room will also be lower than a complete bedroom. A box room is mostly used for garage storage and not for living in or as a bedroom. The dimensions of a box room are 6×6 feet which donot qualify as a bedroom.

The dimensions of a bedroom in the UK for social housing purposes is 70 sq ft. A room of 6×6 feet measurement has an area of 36 sq ft.

Does bedroom tax affect my benefits?

Yes, Universal Credit and Housing Benefit are both affected by bedroom tax. This effect is known as the occupancy charge which applies to spare bedrooms in the property. If you are a tenant of a housing association and under retirement age your benefits will significantly be reduced by bedroom tax.

You cannot cover 14% of your rent for one spare bedroom on the property from Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (housing element). If you are renting 2 or more bedrooms on the property, you will be denied from covering 25% of the total from Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (housing element).

Which bedrooms cannot be taxed?

Bedrooms used by the following occupants cannot be taxed:

  • A partner who cannot share a bedroom with their spouse due to a disability. They will require a separate bedroom which is exempt from tax
  • Two children either both male or female living together in a single bedroom. Both of these children need to be aged under 16 years
  • Two children of either gender, aged below 10 years living together in a single bedroom
  • An adult couple living together in a bedroom
  • A disabled child aged below 16 years of age, who needs to live alone in their separate bedroom
  • A husband and wife who cannot share a bedroom owing to their disability condition. Both their bedrooms will be tax free
  • A single person aged above 16 years. These can be relatives or friends living on your property. 

How can I rent out my bedrooms under the Rent a Room Scheme?

The Rent a Room scheme allows landlords to rent out their bedrooms to lodgers.The Rent a Room scheme can also be used by tenants to sublet bedrooms on a property to lodgers. The earnings from the Rent a Room Scheme can be upto £7500 a year. This income is not taxed as the bedrooms are being occupied by lodgers.

Which taxes will I be liable to pay when I rent out my property?

The annual Gross Rent of your property and details of deductible income need to be declared as “Other income – Rent from property” on your tax returns. The following details need to be mentioned in these returns:

  • The aggregate amount of your yearly rent revenue
  • The aggregate sum of your property’s deductible expenses

You need to contact HMRC as a landlord, if your rental profit is between £1000 and £2500 annually. You have to complete a self assessment tax return if your rental profit is between £2500 and £9999 annually

Exemptions for the disabled

If you or your partner receive regular night care from a caregiver or a group of caregivers, an extra bedroom may be assigned.

An extra bedroom is allowed for a severely disabled child who receives the average or higher rate of one of the components of the disability benefit and cannot share a room due to her disability.

Can I be exempt from bedroom tax payments?

Yes there are certain conditions in which you can be exempt from bedroom tax which specify that:

  • You are above the state pension age (of 65 years for men and 66 for women) and claim state pension credit
  • For being in the British Armed forces. If your parents own the property and you are in the armed forces, you will be exempt from bedroom tax. You will also be considered as living at home even when they are on service duty
  • You are a student living on a property with your parents. The bedroom in your use will be exempt from bedroom tax
  • A friend or family member who moves into a “spare room” of the property.
  • If you are a carer using a room for providing assistance to someone

What are Discretionary Housing Payments?

Discretionary Housing Payments are designed to provide you with extra (short-term) support in paying your rent. You must be claiming Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit first, to be eligible to receive Discretionary Housing Payments. Also, it must be first demonstrated that the financial help provided by Universal Credit and Housing Benefit is insufficient to cover rent payments in your case.

So the requirements to apply for Discretionary Housing Payments are:

  • Being on Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit
  • Being able to prove the existence of a shortfall between the amount of rent you have to pay and your benefits (plus the income and savings you might have leftover to cover rent payments)

The documentation evidence which will be looked into includes:

  • Your income and savings. This will be your monthly pay slips or income from shares or assets and the level of your current savings
  • Your current bank loans and debts (which could be mortgage debts, council tax debts or credit card debts)
  • Evidence of anyone being disabled or diseased in your family or household. This evidence can become the basis of a Discretionary Housing Payment award.
  • Evidence of you having to receive care at home for a disability.
  • Proof of how and on what you spend your income.

The Discretionary Housing Payment can be applied for online You will need to upload scanned copies of the following documents in your online form:

  • A copy of your most recent payslip. If you are working
  • A copy of your bank account statements from the past 2 months
  • Evidence of any loans you have taken, any credit card repayment agreement or any mortgage repayment agreement.
  • In case you are unwell you will need to provide copies of recent medical evidence from the NHS or your (registered) medical practitioner.
  • Copies of any letters you have received from your landlord about your rent arrears

Discretionary Housing Payment in the UK helps those people who are affected by:

  • The benefit cap ( A limit on benefits)
  • The abolishment of the spare room subsidy in the social rented sector
  • Local Housing Allowance (rent) rates

What are leaseholder’s rights?

Leaseholders have the following rights:

  • The right to extend their lease or to buy a freehold of a house (or housing association home) under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967
  • The right to extend their lease or to buy a freehold of a flat under certain conditions
  • The right to buy the freehold of a flat when it is sold, under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1967
  • The right to information regarding appealing service charges on their lease
  • The right to avoid repossession for owing ground rent or service fees to the landlord in case the unsettled charges are very low

What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy option?

An assured shorthold tenancy is a tenancy agreement between a Housing Association and its tenant. As an assured tenant you will need to observe the following responsibilities:

  • Paying your service charges to your Housing Association on time
  • Making sure that the property premises are not used for performing any illegal activities
  • The tenant must provide the housing association with prompt access to the property in case of an emergency relating to safety hazards on the premises
  • Providing a written notice to your Housing Association if you plan to leave your property vacant for more than 29 days..

Under an assured shorthold tenancy you have the following rights or benefits:

  • To be able to purchase your home (at a reduced price) if you have lived on the property as a tenant for a number of years. Under the Right To Buy Scheme UK you can buy your housing association home if it is your primary residence, you are a secure tenant, you have had a housing association landlord for 3 years or more and your property was “self contained”.
  • The right to a lifetime tenancy.
  • The right to transfer your tenancy to another qualifying person, with the housing association’s approval.
  •  The right to have your property covered by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System through an inspection.

A Tenancy automatically qualifies to be an assured shorthold tenancy under the following conditions:

  • The house is your tenant’s primary or main residence
  • The tenancy agreement commenced (on or) after 15th January 1989
  • The landlord does not live in the dwelling.
  • The landlord is a private housing association .

Your tenancy fails to qualify as an assured shorthold tenancy under the following circumstances:

  • The tenancy is a short term Holiday Home rental agreement
  • The service charges or rent stated in the tenancy agreement is under £250 a year (under £1000 a year for London tenancies)
  • The rent charges (mentioned in the tenancy agreement ) exceed £100,000 a year.
  • If the  shorthold tenancy agreement was agreed at anytime before 15th January 1989
  • It is a Commercial Tenancy Agreement between a landlord and a business
  • The tenancy agreement has been signed with a housing association as the landlord.

Under what conditions can I get an extra bedroom?

You are entitled to 1 additional room if you are disabled and also receive care on your property

You must be claiming one of the following benefits:

  • The Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at mid-rate or higher
  • The Breastfeeding allowance (AA)
  • The Component of the daily life of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
  • The Additional bedroom for your child’s overnight care

You are entitled to 1 extra bedroom if you have a disabled child who receives regular night care . Your child must receive one of the following benefits:

  • He or she gets the health component of medium or higher rate of the Disability Living Allowance
  • Your child gets the daily life component of the PIP
  • Your child claims the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).
  •  An extra room for a disabled partner

You are entitled to 1 extra bedroom if you cannot reasonably share a bedroom with your partner due to a disability (this applies from 1st April 2017).

You or your partner must receive one of the following benefits:

  • health component of medium or higher rate of the DLA
  • highest rate AA
  • the daily life component of the PIP
  • AFIP.

Extra bedroom if you are a foster

You are entitled to 1 extra bedroom if:

  • you have entrusted an adopted son to you
  • you are a carer approved by social services and are awaiting placement.

Conclusion

This blog post addressed the question “Do I Have To Pay Bedroom Tax On A Box Room?”You don’t have to pay bedroom tax on a box room as it does not qualify for the relevant size requirements. If you are charged bedroom tax for your box room, you can appeal against it to get your payment refunded.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) :  Do I Have To Pay Bedroom Tax On A Box Room?

What can I do to minimize bedroom tax?

In order to minimize bedroom tax you can consider the following options:

  • Looking for a new job if you are unemployed
  • Moving into an accommodation with fewer bedrooms
  • Taking in a lodger can help to cover your renting costs as the first £20 in weekly income from the lodger is untaxed.

What are my allowable expenses as a landlord?

The following are your allowable expenses as a landlord:

  • Letting agent charges and accountancy fees
  • Training or education courses to update your capability as a landlord
  • Council tax bill payments
  • Monetary expenses on maintenance and repairs
  • Expenses on services to maintain the property such as gardening
  • Expenses on utility bills such as electricity, gas and water supply bills

Can I consider getting a lodger for my property?

Yes you can consider getting a lodger instead of a tenant or you can also use the room for other things such as:

  • Consider getting a boarder
  • Renting the guest room is an option
  • If you decide to go this route, there are a few things you should know:
  • If you have a tenant, this means that you will no longer be considered a free room when your housing allowance is determined.
  • But aside from the first £ 20 a week, the extra money you receive on rent is likely to be treated as income so your benefit can be reduced.

At Universal Credit, the way tenants are valued is different. You should have a free room, so the living area of ​​your Universal Credit will be reduced. But the rent you receive will stay the same

Citations

The Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Size Criteria) Regulations 2017

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