The Housing Benefit regulations do not contain any definition of a ‘bedroom’. Our initial decision as to the number of bedrooms at your address is based on information provided by your landlord and also information provided on your Housing Benefit application form. You should contact us straight away if you disagree with the information we have.
A recent Upper Tribunal Decision stipulated that space standards set out in the 1989 Housing Act for the purposes of statutory overcrowding assessments are not relevant to Housing Benefit regulations. As such, there is no minimum size threshold which would determine whether or not a room is large enough to be classed as a bedroom. This does not mean however that size is irrelevant, just that there is no minimum room size to determine whether a room be included as a bedroom in the calculation of your Housing Benefit.
If you feel that any of the designated bedrooms in your property are too small to be used as bedrooms, and decide to dispute this with us, we will look into this further. It is likely that we will visit your home to look at the room or rooms in dispute. If we decide that the room is suitable to be used as a bedroom, then we will explain why and you would then have the right to appeal to an Independent Tribunal.
We would look at a number of things when making a decision and size would certainly come into this. We would look at the dimensions of the room and whether the room was sufficiently large to fit a standard single bed along with space for storage of belongings and space to move around, get dressed etc. We would then look at things such as whether the room has a window, the height of the ceiling, the lighting, ventilation and similar heating to the rest of the property etc.
If we feel that the room is suitable to be used as a bedroom by an adult or a child on a full or part time basis we will include it as a bedroom for Housing Benefit purposes irrespective of the actual circumstances of the persons living at your address.
If you feel that one of the rooms in your address should not be classed as a bedroom due to the fact that it is too small to be used as such then you should also raise this with your landlord. The reason for this is that your landlord will have set your rent level based upon the number of bedrooms in the property. If the number of bedrooms is incorrect then it is possible that your rent may also have been set at an incorrect level. If the landlord agrees to re-classify your address to the correct number of bedrooms, and reduce the rent in line with this, then we would amend your Housing Benefit claim accordingly without the need for any further dispute.