Under-occupation and overcrowding

Help and incentives to find the right-sized home.

We want to help council tenants living in too-large or too-small properties move to more suitably sized homes. To do this we offer financial incentives to move, and a dedicated council officer will make sure that you get help and support throughout. We can also advise you about alternative options such as:

Tenants who move as a result of Grant of Tenancy will not receive an incentive payment or help with moving.

We can also give you information about the council’s community good neighbour and sheltered housing schemes for the over 50’s. 

For more information, please contact the under-occupation officer.

You can also visit the mutual exchange page.

Changes to Housing Benefit affecting under-occupation tenants

From April 2013, Housing Benefit is restricted to only allow payments for:

  • each adult couple
  • any other person aged 16 and over
  • 2 children of the same sex under the age of 16
  • 2 children regardless of sex under the age of 10
  • any other child
  • a carer, or one of a team of carers, who has a home elsewhere, who uses a spare bedroom on a regular basis to stay overnight because the claimant or their partner requires overnight care

Housing Benefit reductions for working-age social housing tenants who are under-occupying their home

Reductions available:

  • 14% of housing benefit-eligible rent if they are under-occupying by 1 bedroom
  • 25% of housing benefit-eligible rent if they are under-occupying by 2 or more bedrooms

The changes will not affect those:

  • over state pension credit age
  • in shared ownership schemes
  • in sheltered or supported social housing who have support services


If you need more bedrooms and you rent your home from the council or a housing association, we may be able to help you.

You may qualify for assistance in moving to larger accommodation or, if this is not possible, we could help you with making changes to your home to lessen the effects of overcrowding through space saving.

For more information please contact the housing needs team.

Contact the under-occupation officer

Contact the housing needs team