Bedroom Tax – the average size of bedroom in social housing is (at least) 118 square feet

The bedroom tax policy has from day one been appealed on the size of the disputed room / alleged bedroom and much focus has been on the 1985 Housing Act overcrowding provisions which say a room cannot be deemed a bedroom if less than 50 square feet of floor space and a bedroom for an adult needs to have a minimum floor space of 70 square feet. The above Act in its Scottish version the 1987 Housing (Scotland) Act contains the same minimum sizes and was ONE – and only one – of the size factors taken into consideration in the Fife cases of Nelson and Unnamed successful First tier Tribunals appeals which became an Upper Tribunal lead case and was heard on 18 September 2014 and its decision is expected soon. Yet did you know the mean or average size of a bedroom in social housing is over 11 square metres which is 118.4 square feet?  This is recorded in the English Housing Survey of 2012/13 which is published yearly by the Department of Communities & Local Government which is the most authoritative study on housing published. average bedroom size ehs 2012-13 AS the mean or average bedroom size is at least 118 square feet in social housing then why does IDS and the DWP say that ‘bedroom’ is merely a room that can accommodate a single bed and literally too as their view is a single bed surrounded by 4 walls and an outwardly opening door. That view as incredulous as it sounds was precisely what the DWP lawyers argued at the Fife Upper Tribunal hearing in September. In other words a room with a floor space of no more than 21 square feet or about one-sixth the size of the average sized bedroom in social housing? Let me put that another way.IDS believes the average sized bedroom in social housing can fit SIX SINGLE BEDS!!! So should social landlords redesignate all their 3 bed 5 person properties – the almost ubiquitous 2 double 1 single bed properties – as 3 bed FIFTEEN PERSON PROPERTIES? Yet that is what the incredulous view of the DWP infers and it beggars belief.  It also means that every single social tenant on housing benefit is under occupying too if you extend this (illogical) logic of Ian Duncan I believe I am right Smith. Social housing properties are no more than chicken coops in the perverse mind of IDS and the DWP and yet the same CLG who publish the English Housing Survey from which the above is taken say that the minimum size of a single bedroom needs to be 7 square metres of 75.5 square feet! By the way the CLG is the government department headed up by Eric Pickles and is where housing sits so even Pickles says the absolute minimum size of a single bedroom is almost FOUR TIMES the size of the view of the zealous IDS. What planet are you on IDS?


Sorry to mislead reader I have found he underlying data table for the above and it transpires the average bedroom size is 11.25 square metres or 121.09 square feet !!


And to think this is official government data that this coalition knew well before they introduced the bedroom tax!

EHS source:


7 thoughts on “Bedroom Tax – the average size of bedroom in social housing is (at least) 118 square feet

  1. I seem to recall a room cannot be designated as a bedroom when it contains a connected gas appliance? That being so then many properties in Stockport were wrongly classified as being two bedrooms when they were in fact one bedrooms as the back bedroom had a gas fire in these being former District Nurses flats. Furthermore doesn’t a room to be designated a bedroom have to have sufficient ventilation? The same properties were all built without the presence of an external air vent in the back bedrooms and indeed many remain so in possible contravention of building regulations? This is despite decent homes works when such should surely have been noticed? There are incidences of main gas boiler fitted in back bedroom since 2000 with no air vent. Can someone with appropriate technical knowledge please comment?


    1. Not a quick and easy answer but rooms with boilers in them can be classed as bedrooms as long as the boiler is not of a certain (older) type and is ventilated through an outside wall. Google the Health & Safety Executive and boilers on this if you need full chapter and verse

  2. Good news for the tax payer now we only have to supply mp’s a room with single bed surrounded by four walls and a door whilst away from home on government business. We can say goodbye to second homes and expensive hotels? How much does this save the tax payer?
    After all we are “ALL IN THIS TOGETHER”????? RIGHT!

  3. Time to propose a tax on second homes maybe, based on the number of people the property could sleep based on IDS’s 1.95 square meters per person figure. Well, I can dream!!!

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