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Challenging a 'bedroom tax' decision

If you are affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ you may be able to challenge this decision.


This information applies to people living in England, Wales & Scotland.


Below are a list of reasons why you may want to challenge a 'bedroom tax' decsion, and some arguments you can use if one of these reasons applies to you.

In any letters you sent to your local council, asking them to amend your Housing Benefit decision, make sure you include:

  • your name
  • your address and any other contact details
  • your National Insurance number

This information is written from the point of view of the Housing Benefit claimant.


If you need an additional bedroom because you or your partner require overnight care from a non-resident carer(s)

You should write to your local council and ask them to amend your Housing Benefit decision, demonstrating that the below conditions have been met, and quoting the below regulations.

What conditions need to be met to be allowed an additional bedroom on this basis?

To count as requiring overnight care you or your partner need to be regularly receiving overnight care from a carer(s) who doesn’t live with you, and the carer(s) need to be provided with the use of an additional bedroom (additional to those used by other people who live with you).

‘Regular’ has not been defined in terms of a specific amount of care, but it has been said to mean the same as ‘commonly’, ‘habitually’ or ‘customarily’. The test for whether someone requires ‘regular’ overnight care is if the need for the care arises often and steadily enough to require that a bedroom be kept for this purpose. Therefore, someone who needs overnight care every night all of the time would obviously pass the test, but the law is also clear that the test can be passed in situations where care is only provided on a minority of nights, so long as an extra bedroom is needed for this purpose (for example, this might apply where someone with a health problem only needs care on bad nights).

‘A carer who doesn’t live with you’ could be a paid care worker or a carer. Also, if different members of a family take turns to stay over with you or your partner, or if care is sometimes provided by a combination of family, friends or paid care workers, this should not cause a problem.

You should therefore demonstrate to the local council that you or your partner are/is regularly receiving overnight care from a carer(s) who doesn’t live with you, and that this carer is provided with the use of an additional bedroom. You should do this by explaining your situation (ie your health conditions and why this means you require overnight care, how often you require overnight care, who provides the overnight care and what would happen if you didn’t receive the overnight care).

Also, you or your partner must satisfy the local council that you/they reasonably require this care and meets(s) one of the following conditions:

  • you/they are getting Attendance Allowance, the middle or the higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), either rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Armed Forces Independent Payment (AFIP) or
  • you/they have provided the local council with sufficient certificates, documents, information or evidence to satisfy it that overnight care is required

Therefore, you should demonstrate to the local council that you/they reasonably require this care, by providing any evidence or supporting information as to why (ie your health conditions and why this means you require overnight care, any confirmation of this requirement from a medical or social care professional etc.). You should also provide evidence of which of the above bullet points you meet (ie a benefit award letter or supporting information from a medical or social care professional etc.).

What regulations allow for an additional bedroom on this basis?

The regulations that allow an additional bedroom for this reason are the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012.

You should therefore quote in your letter “I ask you to amend my Housing Benefit decision to allow an additional bedroom because as demonstrated, I/my partner require overnight care from a non-resident carer(s), and as set out in the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012, an additional bedroom should be allowed on this basis.”


If you need an additional bedroom because a child or non-dependent adult requires overnight care from a non-resident carer(s)

From 1st April 2017 if you need an additional room because a child or non-dependent adult requires overnight care from a non-resident carer(s) this should be allowed.

You should write to your local council and ask them to amend your Housing Benefit decision from 1st April 2017, demonstrating that the below conditions have been met, and quoting the below regulations.

What conditions need to be met to be allowed an additional bedroom on this basis?

To count as requiring overnight care the person needs to be regularly receiving overnight care from a carer(s) who doesn’t live with you, and the carer(s) need to be provided with the use of an additional bedroom (additional to those used by other people who live with you).

‘Regular’ has not been defined in terms of a specific amount of care, but it has been said to mean the same as ‘commonly’, ‘habitually’ or ‘customarily’. The test for whether someone requires ‘regular’ overnight care is if the need for the care arises often and steadily enough to require that a bedroom be kept for this purpose. Therefore, someone who needs overnight care every night all of the time would obviously pass the test, but the law is also clear that the test can be passed in situations where care is only provided on a minority of nights, so long as an extra bedroom is needed for this purpose (for example, this might apply where someone with a health problem only needs care on bad nights).

‘A carer who doesn’t live with you’ could be a paid care worker or a carer. Also, if different members of a family take turns to stay over with the person, or if care is sometimes provided by a combination of family, friends or paid care workers, this should not cause a problem.

You should therefore demonstrate to the local council that the person is regularly receiving overnight care from a carer(s) who doesn’t live with you, and that this carer is provided with the use of an additional bedroom. You should do this by explaining the situation of the person (ie their health conditions and why this means they require overnight care, how often they require overnight care, who provides the overnight care and what would happen if they didn’t receive overnight care).

Also, the person (or the Housing Benefit claimant if the person is a child) must satisfy the local council that they reasonably require this care and meets(s) one of the following conditions:

  • they are getting Attendance Allowance, the middle or the higher rate of the care component of DLA, either rate of the daily living component of PIP or AFIP or
  • they/you have provided the local council with sufficient certificates, documents, information or evidence to satisfy it that overnight care is required

Therefore, you should demonstrate to the local council that the person reasonably requires this care, by providing any evidence or supporting information as to why (ie their health conditions and why this means they require overnight care, any confirmation of this requirement from a medical or social care professional etc.). You should also provide evidence of which of the above bullet points they meet (ie a benefit award letter or supporting information from a medical or social care professional etc.).

What regulations allow for an additional bedroom on this basis?

The regulations that allow an additional bedroom for this reason are the Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Size Criteria) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2017.

You should therefore quote in your letter “I ask you to amend my Housing Benefit decision from 1st April 2017 to allow an additional bedroom because as demonstrated, the person requires overnight care from a non-resident carer(s), and as set out in the Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Size Criteria) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2017, an additional bedroom should be allowed on this basis.”


If you need an additional bedroom because you and your partner are unable to share a bedroom due to health reasons

From 1st April 2017 if you need an additional bedroom because you and your partner are unable to share a bedroom due to health reasons this should be allowed.

You should write to your local council and ask them to amend your Housing Benefit decision from 1st April 2017, demonstrating that the below conditions have been met, and quoting the below regulations.

What conditions need to be met to be allowed an additional bedroom on this basis?

For you and your partner to be considered as being unable to share a bedroom due to health reasons, the following conditions must be met:

  • you or your partner (whichever one has the health conditions) must be getting the higher rate of Attendance Allowance, the middle or the higher rate of the care component of DLA, either rate of the daily living component of PIP or AFIP and
  • the local council must be satisfied that you or your partner (whichever one has the health conditions) are/is, because of your/their disability, not reasonably able to share a bedroom

You should therefore demonstrate to the local council that you and your partner are unable to share a bedroom due to health reasons. You should do this by providing evidence that the relevant disability benefit is in payment (ie a benefit award letter) and by providing evidence that you are not reasonably able to share a bedroom, such as supporting information from medical or social care professionals, details of what would happen if you had to share a bedroom etc.

It is important to explain exactly why you are unable to share a bedroom, as opposed to just sharing a bed. This is because if there is enough space in the bedroom for two separate beds, the local council may say that you do not need an additional bedroom because you can technically share a bedroom even if you can't share a bed (you would just need another bed). Therefore, be very clear as to why it is a bedroom you are unable to share (ie you are unable to share a bed and the bedroom isn’t big enough for two beds, or there is too much health related equipment in the bedroom to allow room for another bed, or if the reasons why you are unable to share are not due to space and are instead due to environmental reasons such as a compromised immune system).

What regulations allow for an additional bedroom on this basis?

The regulations that allow an additional bedroom for this reason are the Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Size Criteria) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2017.

You should therefore quote in your letter “I ask you to amend my Housing Benefit decision from 1st April 2017 to allow an additional bedroom because as demonstrated, my partner and I are unable to share a bedroom due to my/their health conditions, and as set out in the Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Size Criteria) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2017, an additional bedroom should be allowed on this basis.”

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