What Is The Minimum Bedroom Size For Bedroom Tax To Apply?

If you are wondering about what should be the size of a bedroom for bedroom tax to apply, you will find the answer to your question in the following blog post. In addition to this, we will also discuss how bedroom tax is calculated based on different factors and who is responsible for calculating bedroom tax.

What Is The Minimum Bedroom Size For Bedroom Tax To Apply?

According to the Housing Act 1985 the minimum size of a bedroom should be 70 sq ft for bedroom tax to apply for residents who are claiming Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit. 

The Act further states that a room which is less than 50 sq ft in size cannot be considered a bedroom; while a room with dimensions between 50 sq ft and 70 sq ft can only be considered as half a bedroom for the calculation of bedroom tax.

In addition to this, the government has set minimum sizes for bedrooms for different types of occupancy. For example: 

  • a bedroom for one person over the age of 10 must be at least 6.51 square metres in size 
  • a bedroom for two people over the age of 10 must be at least 10.22 square metres in size 
  • a bedroom for one child under the age of 10 must be at least 4.64 square metres in size

The UK’s bedroom tax policy aims to decrease Housing Benefit payments for individuals with an excess number of bedrooms. 

However, the government has defined specific criteria for a room to be considered a bedroom, including size requirements and the presence of a locking door and adequate space for a bed, wardrobe, and chest of drawers; based on which an assessment is carried out to determine whether or not bedroom tax should be applied or not. 

The following factors are considered during bedroom tax assessments to ensure that the room in question is:

  • of a certain size in terms of floor area
  • of a certain height and width
  • accessible to people with disabilities
  • able to be used as a bedroom
  • not occupied by more than one person

This means that social housing residents who claim support for housing expenses can lose 14% of the eligible rent in the form of bedroom tax if they have one spare bedroom and 25% of the eligible rent in case of two or more spare bedrooms.

Who Is Responsible For Assessing Bedroom Size For Bedroom Tax?

The responsibility of evaluating whether a bedroom meets the government’s standards lies with local authorities and housing associations. This is determined through the measurement of the room size and the consideration of other factors such as property layout and the occupants’ requirements.

The process of bedroom tax assessments varies from local authority to local authority. However, in general, the process follows these steps:

  • The local authority or housing association will send a letter to the tenant asking them to provide information about the size of their bedrooms.
  • The tenant will then measure the size of their bedrooms and provide the information to the local authority or housing association.
  • The local authority or housing association will then assess whether the bedrooms meet the government’s criteria.

In case the bedrooms fail to comply with the government’s set standards, the housing benefit payments of the tenant will be diminished by the local authority or housing association.

How Is Room Occupancy Calculated For Bedroom Size?

Part X of the Housing Act 1985 states the details for room occupancy in relation to the bedroom size. According to this, a room which is more than 50 st ft in size, should be occupied according to the following classification:

  • one room can occupy two persons
  • two rooms can occupy three persons
  • three rooms can occupy five persons
  • four rooms can occupy seven and a half persons
  • five rooms or more can occupy ten persons (plus two for each room in excess of five rooms)

It is important to note that based on occupancy, a child who is younger than one year of age is disregarded and a child who is between the age of one and ten is considered a half-person.

If the floor area is taken as the assessment parameter, the below classification applies to the occupancy of a room:

  • less than 50 square feet cannot be occupied
  • 50 to less than 70 square feet can be occupied by half a person
  • 70 to less than 90 square feet can be occupied by one person
  • 90 to less than 110 square feet can be occupied by one and a half persons
  • 110 square feet or larger can be occupied by two persons


The above discussion clearly indicates that unless a room is at least 70 sq ft in floor area, it cannot be considered an extra bedroom for bedroom tax to apply for Housing Benefit claimants. However, the age and gender of household members also play a key role in determining the occupancy status and the calculation of spare rooms for the application of bedroom tax. Therefore, claimants may need to reassess the bedroom entitlement for their household based on individual circumstances.


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