Size Criteria

Starting April 2013, Social Housing Size Criteria

For working age people, the size criteria in the social rented sector will restrict housing benefit to allow for one bedroom for each person or couple living as part of the household, with the following exceptions:

  • Children under 16 of same gender are expected to share
  • Children under 10 are expected to share regardless of gender
  • A disabled tenant or partner who needs a non-resident carer will be allowed an extra room
  • A registered foster carer will be allowed to have one room for their foster child(ren)

Any household deemed to have more bedrooms than they require, as defined by the criteria, will lose a proportion of their housing benefit. There is no distinction between larger and smaller bedrooms for housing benefit purposes.

  • If a household is deemed as having 1 spare bedroom, they will have any Housing Benefit they are entitled to reduced by around 14%
  • If a household is deemed as having 2 or more spare bedrooms, they will have any Housing Benefit they are entitled to reduced by around 25%

The percentage will always be based on a percentage of you rent charged by your landlord, even if you only receive a part payment of housing benefit.

What can you do to prepare if (by DWP’s new rules) you are classed as having a spare room?

Move to a smaller property:

You can choose to move by swapping homes with another social housing tenant. There are 2 websites that you could take a look at, both cost nothing to register and search for properties:

You can also register for a transfer under the Trading Places scheme; you will receive £1,000 per bedroom that you give up. This scheme is being reviewed and the amount given for moving into a smaller property may be reduced.

For all of your options when thinking of moving please look at our Moving Options page.

Staying where you are:

If you decide to stay where you and are classed as having a spare bedroom by DWP’s new standards, you will still be expected to pay all your rent. Failure to pay your rent will lead to Hounslow Homes having to take action to recover the arrears. Ultimately, you may lose your home if you do not keep to your rent payments and we have to apply to Court for a Possession Order.

In place since April 2011 and set to increase further, Non-Dependant Deductions:

The above applies to your Housing Benefit claim when you have someone, other than your partner, living with you. This results in a reduction in the amount of housing benefit a person receives. The Government decided that the rates for non-dependant deductions should be increased, as there has been a freeze on these for over ten years, they are now increasing this rapidly over 3 years. This began in April 2011, and will continue into 2014.

For Housing Benefit claims the increase has been around 28%, for Council Tax Benefit it has been increased by around 24%. If you currently claim Housing Benefit, you would have seen an increase in how much rent you pay direct to us. If you need help with this, please ensure you ask a rents officer or our Customer Services Centre to refer you to our Welfare Benefits Money Advice officers, who can try and help you with working out how to adjust to the extra money you have to pay towards your rent.


If you are in receipt of Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (care components), registered blind, you would not have non-dependent deductions applied to your housing benefit. Any Lodgers are not taken as non-dependants, although lodgers are only permitted with written authorisation from Hounslow Homes.

There are others who are not taken into account as non-dependants, full time students (term time only), out of term time, you would need to provide proof of this person's income.

If you do not provide proof of any other adult living with you, you will see the maximum amount of deductions made for a non-dependant. Currently this would be just under £74 per week, taken out of any housing benefit that you may be entitled to.