16th July 2013

New "max bedrooms" feature to help with the bedroom tax

On the 1st April 2013 the government introduced welfare reforms, which included the so-called "bedroom tax". Most likely you'll already have heard a lot about it! In brief it means that, within the social rented sector, full housing benefit is restricted to households in which there is one bedroom for each person or couple living. There are a few exceptions to this:

  • Two children under 16 of same gender expected to share
  • Two children under 10 expected to share regardless of gender
  • Disabled tenant or partner who needs non-resident overnight carer will be allowed an extra bedroom
  • Approved foster carers will be allowed an additional room so long as they have fostered a child, or become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months
  • Adult children in the Armed Forces will be treated as continuing to live at home when deployed on operations

If you have any "spare" bedrooms, as far as the legislation sees it, your housing benefit eligible rent will be cut by a fixed percentage - 14% for one extra bedroom, and 25% for two or more extra bedrooms.

At Glass Bob, we've been using our automated matching system to try and help match people with possible swap partners for over three years now. In order to be included in that system we ask users to tell us what they're looking for in a possible swap. This includes information such as location, rental price range, type of property and number of bedrooms. In the past you could only specify the minimum number of bedrooms that you wanted - after all, before the bedroom tax, having an extra bedroom or two above what you needed was no big deal and, in fact, could be most useful. Of course, with the introduction of the bedroom tax, that has changed. People are now keen to only consider properties which have exactly the right number of bedrooms.

Therefore to help our users we have now introduced a "maximum bedrooms" option. That means that if you specify that you are looking for a property with a maximum of, say, four bedrooms, our automated matching system will ignore any properties that have more than that. In the age of the bedroom tax, this can save you time searching through properties that have too many bedrooms, but might otherwise be suitable.

All existing "I am looking for" profiles have had the "maximum bedrooms" field set to "no max" - in other words, there will be no change. If you wish to set a maximum number of bedrooms, please log in, go to "My Account" and then "I am looking for", from where you can edit your settings.

Good luck with finding your ideal home swap!

www.glassbob.com - The UK's dedicated home swap website