The number of people who live with you as members of your household determines how many bedrooms you need and the size of the accommodation you will qualify for under Local Housing Allowance rules. Other rooms such as living rooms, kitchens or toilets are not included in Local Housing Allowance rules.
Couples are entitled to one bedroom under Local Housing Allowance rules. If they do not have any dependants this means they get the 1 bedroom LHA rate.
If you claim Housing Benefit as a couple and share facilities with other joint tenants you will only get the shared accommodation rate of Local Housing Allowance. This does not apply to couples claiming Universal Credit who are still entitled to one bedroom.
By couple we mean a man and a woman who are married or living together as if they are married, or two people of the same sex who are Civil Partners/Married or living together as if they were.
Single people aged 35 or over are entitled to one bedroom under Local Housing Allowance rules in the same way as couples.
If they claim Housing Benefit and share facilities with other joint tenants they get the shared accommodation rate of Local Housing Allowance. If they claim Universal Credit they can still get the one bedroom rate.
Single people aged under 35 are limited to the shared accommodation rate of Local Housing Allowance in both Housing Benefit and Universal Credit, even if they don't share accommodation, but there are some exceptions. For more information see shared accommodation rate.
The number of bedrooms allowed for children under Local Housing Allowance depends on how old they are and their sex.
The rules assume that:
Children aged 16-19 are counted as needing their own bedroom.
If your household includes any non-dependants (such as a grown-up child or a parent) they also count as needing their own bedroom. If any of the adults who live with you are in a couple then they count as needing one bedroom to share if you claim Housing Benefit but get a bedroom each in your entitlement if claiming Universal Credit.
When entering the number of adults who live with you do not include yourself or your partner, joint tenants or your landlord.
If your household includes adults who live with you the amount of benefit you get may be reduced if they are classified as non-dependants.
If you have a tenancy agreement where you and one or more other people are jointly liable for paying the rent then you are a joint tenant. This will be the case where you have one tenancy agreement covering a number of people.
For more information on how Local Housing Allowance rules could affect you please see joint tenants.
Under Housing Benefit any sub-tenants or lodgers you have can be included as an adult occupant of your home when assessing your bedroom entitlement. However, the income you get from sub-tenants or lodgers is included when working out your benefits.
In contrast, under Universal Credit you will be able to keep in full all the rental income from sub-tenants or lodgers without it counted as income. However, lodgers, boarders and sub-tenants will not be counted as being entitled to a room when working out your bedroom entitlement.
This means for social tenants claiming Universal Credit, the room the lodger, boarder or sub tenant occupies will still be counted as spare and you could get an under occupation deduction on your UC Housing Element ("bedroom tax").
The number of bedrooms a household needs can be increased in certain circumstances. Special rules affect the following groups:
If you qualify under any of these exemptions an extra bedroom can be included in your bedroom entitlement. The rules in this area are complicated and you may need to take advice on your individual situation. Please contact your local council for information on your entitlement.