Working out your bedroom entitlement

You can live in a home with as many bedrooms as you wish, but the Housing Benefit rules may limit how many you can be paid for. The rules are known as the “Size Criteria”. They depend on:

  • how many people live with you in your home
  • how they are related to you (if they are) 
  • whether they are children or adults, and 
  • if they are children, whether they are boys or girls, and their ages.

If you make an application for Housing Benefit your benefit will be based on a Local Housing Allowance and will depend on the number of bedrooms that can be paid for. The Council will calculate this based on the number of people in your household taking into account their ages and gender.  You may chose to live in a larger home and pay more than the allowance you get, or you could chose to live in a smaller home and keep the difference.

There are special rules if you are single and under 35 years old.  Your Housing Benefit will be based on the rent for a room which has a shared living room, and which may have a shared bathroom or a shared kitchen.
Other single people and couples without children who share rooms or facilities with someone else may also only be entitled to the shared rate. Please contact the Council for advice if you live in shared accommodation.

Same sex couples who have formed a civil partnership or who are living together as if they were civil partners, will be treated the same way as opposite sex couples who are married or living together as husband and wife.

The number of rooms allowed is one bedroom for each of the following, counting each person once only, in the first group they come into.

  • A married couple or an unmarried couple who live together as husband and wife or same sex couples who have formed a civil partnership or are living as if they have formed a civil partnership.
  • Someone who is 16 or over.
  • Two children of the same sex who are younger than 16. 
  • Two children who are younger than 10. 
  • A child (a ‘child’ is someone under 16).

The Council only counts children as living in the home where they normally live. They are not counted in a home where they visit, however often.

This is a guide to the maximum number of rooms you are allowed under the Housing Benefit rules. To confirm the number of bedrooms that you and your family qualify for please use this simple bedroom calculator and enter the details of your household.

Now you have worked out your room entitlement, you can now view the Local Housing Allowance that will be used to calculate your claim by going to the link for Monthly Local Housing Allowance Rates.


Household  LHA Rate
 Family A – couple with one child  2 bedrooms
 Family B - couple with 1 girl aged 6 and 1 boy aged 8  2 bedrooms
 Family C - couple with 1 girl aged 6 and 1 boy aged 12  3 bedrooms