Thursday, 20 October 2016

DWP to consult on social homes under-occupation

The government has said that it ‘does not expect’ changes to the shared accommodation rate to be applied to social housing tenants.

Since the beginning of January, single people aged between 25 and 34 renting in the private sector have only been able to claim housing benefit based on the cost of a room in shared house, rather than a modest one bed flat. This restriction previously applied to all single people under 25-years-old.

The change means people are potentially receiving reduced benefits even if they are not living in shared accommodation.

Confusion has surrounded how single people in the social rented sector will be affected by similar changes which are scheduled to be brought in next year.

An impact assessment from October 2011 looking at ‘size criteria’ for social tenants says: ‘From 1 April 2013 it is intended to introduce size criteria for new and existing working-age housing benefit claimants living in the social rented sector.

‘The size criteria will replicate the size criteria that apply to housing benefit claimants in the private rented sector and whose claims are assessed using the local housing allowance rules.

‘The applicable maximum rent will be reduced by a national percentage rate depending on how many bedrooms the household is considered not to require.’

Some have claimed that this means a single person in a 1-bed social flat will be treated the same as a single person in a 1-bed private flat.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: ‘We will base under-occupation in the social rented sector on the size criteria used in the private sector. We are looking at how this will work in practice and will consult with local authority associations on draft regulations shortly.

‘As with now, we do not expect the shared accommodation rate to apply to any tenants living in the social rented sector.’

Readers' comments (10)

Comments are only open to subscribers of Inside Housing

Already a subscriber?

If you’re already a subscriber to Inside Housing, your subscription may not be linked to your online account. You can link your subscription from within the My Account section of the website and clicking on Link My Account.

Not yet a subscriber?

If you don't yet subscribe to Inside Housing, please visit our subscription page to view our various subscription packages.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up



  • Wigan Council to consult on scrapping ALMO

    22 September 2016

    Wigan Council will consult on scrapping its arm’s-length management organisation (ALMO) and bringing housing management back in-house.

  • DCLG housing boss moves to DWP

    15 July 2016

    The civil servant in charge of housing at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has moved on.

  • DWP to change Universal Credit procedures

    16 May 2016

    The government has pledged to improve Universal Credit procedures this summer, following concerns from social landlords that they are frequently not informed that their tenants are claiming the benefit.

  • HCA to consult on fees after Housing Bill

    2 March 2016

    The English social housing regulator plans to publish a consultation on charging fees after the Housing and Planning Bill is passed in parliament.

  • Fall in social housing under-occupation

    18 February 2016

    The proportion of social housing households under-occupying their homes according to overcrowding standards has fallen to the lowest level on record.

IH Subscription