Bedroom Tax, Syrian Refugees and what is a bedroom?!

The Home Office has a specification for the Syrian Refugee (VPR) programme that has some relevance for the bedroom tax and the question of what is and is not a bedroom.

The minimum specification is what the Home Office guidance gives and leaving aside the main double bedroom here is what it says:


And for Bedroom 3 it says:


You will note in both cases (and for the main or double bedroom) that the minimum furniture is a single bed, single mattress and SIGNIFICANTLY for bedroom tax purposes a wardrobe and a chest of drawers that as such gives a minimum bedroom furniture requirement for the storage of clothes.

The post Nelson Upper Tribunal ruling in the Stevenage case (below) said that for a room to be a bedroom and a Nelson-compliant bedroom that it …

“...should be capable of accommodating a single adult bed, a bedside table and somewhere to store clothes (see paragraph 33 of Nelson), as well as providing space for dressing and undressing.”


The Home Office thus believe that a Syrian refugee, who lets face it will have hardly any clothes compared to a UK national given their horrendous necessity to flee, still needs a wardrobe AND a chest of drawers to store his or her clothes.

YET so many First-tier Tribunal decisions and post Nelson too state that a hanging rail is all that is needed – not even a wardrobe and no chest of drawers!!

This minimum housing specification is similar to the Home Office one it issued for the asylum seeker dispersal programme at the turn of the century and which said that the minimum floor size of any bedroom had to be at least 70 square feet – something I remember well as I headed up that programme for a North West council at the time.

Now this Syrian programme is defining the minimum furniture specification of a single bedroom to include what is the minimum acceptable.  Quite how the DWP or any tribunal or any local government decision maker can say that a bedroom for bedroom tax purposes does not need to include a wardrobe and a chest of drawers beggars belief.

In these post Brexit vote times  of  heightened immigrant hating and racist hysteria perhaps the Daily Mail would care to run an article that these foreigners get a higher standard of accommodation than us Brits?



15 thoughts on “Bedroom Tax, Syrian Refugees and what is a bedroom?!

  1. Have read this, information shown is no good when you go to court eg; Bedroon size I went to court in June 2016 for under occupation my bedroom in question was only 11ft x6.6in. I pay full rent council tax and disabled, doctors letter stating I need extra room due to my disabilitys. Lost the case and now waiting for council to find me suitable 2 bedroom flat. If the details in this post could be proven to be true I would appeal.?

  2. Me and my partner live in a 2 bedroom flat, the single bedroom is just a bit bigger than is required and so we have to pay bedroom tax. My partner is disabled and suffers with restless leg syndrome and is waiting to find out if he also has fibromyalgia, he also suffers with sleep apnoea which means he has to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, so we do need our second bedroom as he has such bad nights. We had a letter from our Dr for the council to see about having the bedroom tax stopped due to the need of the spare bedroom, but even with his health problems we are not exempt from paying it. It makes my blood boil to think that people from other countries get treated better in our country. We were told by the council that if my partner hat to have a carer that stayed over night a few times a week that we would be exempt but what good would that be to us as he would no longer have the spare room to use.

  3. Joe, Hi, have you got a link please to this document for local authorities?? I have searched for it, but the only one I can find, does not have the above details on bedrooms. Thank you

  4. Hi Joe. How exactly do we use this information as part of our tribunal submission?? Do we just enclose the whole document and just reference the bedroom 2 and bedroom 3 details?? As doubtful Judges have seen this before

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