How to combat the bedroom tax with a tape measure

How to combat the bedroom tax with a tape measure

One - but only one way - to combat the bedroom tax

One – but only one – of the challenges to the bedroom tax is the minimum size of your smallest bedroom.

Many of the smallest rooms in social housing are less than 70 sq/ft and thus a boxroom rather than a bedroom.

A single bedroom has to be 70 sq/ft or 6.5 sq/m to be classed as a full (1.0) bedroom. If it is 9ft x 7ft then it is 63 sq/ft and just 0.9 of a bedroom.

The size standards are found in the 1985 Housing Act section 326 (and see here for an overview ) which ironically deal with overcrowding and set out the 70 sq/ft issue and also the fact that anything under 50 sq/ft (eg 7ft by 7ft) cannot be deemed as a bedroom at all.

If you have a room which is under these requirements then it cannot be classed as a bedroom and you can legally challenge any under-occupancy judgement that says it is a bedroom.

Again, this is only one way to potentially combat the bedroom tax: the State has a shitty habit of closing down any loopholes that spring-up in its face, as evidenced in a recent workfare ruling.

We argue that it's only tenant solidarity and direct action that will see the working class get the goods.

But, it is worth measuring up your smallest room to see if they are classed as a full bedroom or not.

If you want to read an accessible legal view of this try here -

Posted By

Combat Bedroom Tax
Feb 20 2013 11:18


  • Can the state be skinned?

Attached files


steve y
Feb 21 2013 18:56

from above "A single bedroom has to be 70 sq/ft or 6.5 sq/m to be classed as a full (1.0) bedroom. If it is 9ft x 7ft then it is 63 sq/ft and just 0.9 of a bedroom."

and " anything under 50 sq/ft (eg 7ft by 7ft) cannot be deemed as a bedroom at all."

Maybe I'm just dumb, but what makes a bedroom, 50 or 70 sq/ft?

Feb 23 2013 13:46

70 sq/ft is a bedroom. 50sq/ft or more but less than 70 sq/ft is "half a bedroom," i.e. a bedroom for "half a person" (defined as a child aged one or over but under ten.)

Feb 23 2013 18:59

Is that what you meant, steve y?

The square footage of the room is the floor area. A room 10' long and 5' wide would be 50 square feet. A room 10' long and 7' wide would be 70 square feet. A room 7' by 7' would be 49 square feet. A room 8' by 8' would be 64 square feet.

Feb 25 2013 01:27

ok now im realy confuced cos i have just put a tape to my box room there saying is a full room and its 11'6" x 6'7" so is my room to big or is it small enough to say its not a room !!!!

Feb 25 2013 10:07

Your box room is slightly over the limit by my calculations as it is 75 square feet.

I winder what happens when the floor space of a bedroom is reduced by built-in wardrobes?

Ann Arky
Feb 25 2013 11:52

This article is misleading as the government has not stipulated the minimum size for a bedroom, indeed there is no definition of a bedroom in law, it is left for landlords to define, i.e. whatever it states on the tenancy agreement. Theoretically, if a room has a window and enough room for a bed, then as far as the government is concerned it is a bedroom.
However, this would contravene the laws on overcrowding as stated on Shelter website:-

"Overcrowding is defined by the number of people who stay in a room and the amount of space they have there.

The number of people per room
If two people of the opposite sex have to sleep in the same room the accommodation will be overcrowded unless:

the two people are married or a cohabiting couple, or
one person is a child under ten years old.
The number of people of the same sex (unless they are a same-sex couple) who can sleep in one room is restricted by the size of the room (see below).

The amount of space in each room
Rooms that are counted include living rooms, bedrooms and large kitchens. For the space and floor area calculations:

children under one year old are ignored
children between one and ten years old count as a half
rooms under 50 square feet are ignored.
As a general rule:

1 room = 2 people
2 rooms = 3 people
3 rooms = 5 people
4 rooms = 7.5 people
5 or more rooms = 2 people per room.
But the floor area of a room also determines how many people can sleep in it:

floor area 110 sq feet (10.2 sq metres approx) = 2 people
floor area 90 - 109 sq ft (8.4 - 10.2 sq m approx) = 1.5 people
floor area 70 - 89 sq ft (6.5 - 8.4 sq m approx) = 1 person
floor area 50 - 69 sq ft (4.6 - 6.5 sq m approx) = 0.5 person."

Therein lies the anomaly.

The government has also suggested that we take in a lodger to meet the shortfall in rent. It is against the law to rent out a room which is under 70 sq ft and a Surrey landlord was recently prosecuted for this.

Expect many legal challenges to this filthy piece of legislation and a precedent as to minimum bedroom size to be set in law.

Mar 23 2013 19:53

D-e Camarin you Bast-ard D-e and give us all a break you sadistic Bast-ard.

Chilli Sauce
Mar 24 2013 09:57


Mar 26 2013 15:16

Ihave spoken to the housing benefit in Cornwall about the bedroom tax , they told me that it has nothing to do with them they are told by the land lords if a property is 1, 2 , 3 .4 and so on bedrooms and they will tax accordingly and adivcedto have a word with the Guinness Trust my landlord which i did , my housing office told me in a ferm voice that the Trust could not find said law to the size of a room and that i had signed a tenancy agreement for a 3 bedroom house and that would stand , they will not change the agreement as they have thousands of 3 bedroom propertys . So unless your landlord isn`t a lazy trust like mine it seems we will be charged any way .

Sep 22 2013 11:01

I have a third room classified as a bedroom. It measures in total between 60 and 65 sq feet.
By definition can I argue that this is not a bedroom but a box room? Having lived in the council property for 15 yeard could I further argue that I have been persistently over charged for rent on this basis?

Feb 21 2014 05:22

Got some of the important tips but still confused in the standard size, so can anyone tell me what exactly it is.

Feb 22 2014 12:50

The 1985 definition isn't legally enforcible. If the council or HA says 'it's a bedroom' then it's a bedroom, no matter how big.

There's a big facebook community of anti-bedroom tax people here: - you might be able to get more info on any questions there (assuming you're on facebook, that is).

Dec 31 2018 09:47

Hi everyone. I'm new ..I am paying 2 lots of bedroom tax..thing is my box room is only 6ft by 6ft 2. Wen I called council and told them this ...they sai as long as you can get a bed in the room it's ok.. just left like do i get help with this plz xxx