I have just been put on the council housing list and at the moment live in a 2 bed house in which the 2nd room is tiny. The council are saying that my two daughters, aged 16 and 1 year, can share a bedroom.

I thought once a child hit secondary school age they should have their own room?

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    Obviously, somebody's going to have to share a room - where are you going to sleep? For those of us who don't live where you do, what is 'council' housing? Such a large disparity in ages might be hard on either one, especially if the older one is always up late doing homework. How would she feel about sharing with her younger sister, anyways - would she enjoy it? Mar 14, 2013 at 17:40
  • Related.
    – user420
    Mar 14, 2013 at 18:21
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    @DA01 - I disagree. As far as I can tell, the only reason council is mentioned is because they control the size of the house the family lives in. I find it hard to believe that they're mandating that the kids share a bedroom if other options are available, even in the given house.
    – Shauna
    Mar 14, 2013 at 19:33
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    @user4053, could you please clarify: does the council dictate who should sleep in what room? I don't believe that's the case, but your question is worded that way. Mar 14, 2013 at 20:41
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    I come from a family of 7 who managed quite happily with four bedrooms. I shared a room with my brother, and the two elder brothers also shared. Our sister had her own room, but had there been another girl she would have shared too. Why on Earth not? Mar 17, 2013 at 0:36

2 Answers 2


Are they explicitly saying this, or are you assuming they're implying it, because you're in a 2 bedroom house?

I can only speak for the US, so YMMV, but legally speaking, housing supports up to two people per room. In your situation this means that they can give you a 2 bedroom place and tell you to deal with it, but they can't give you a 1 bedroom place. Given the differences in cost (not to mention availability) of 3 bedroom places vs 2 bedroom places, it's not surprising that the implication is that someone has to share a room with someone else.

That said, assuming the actual decision is yours, it's ultimately up to you. It's not uncommon at all for siblings to share a bedroom all the way until the time they move out. Where it generally becomes a taboo or sticking point is if the children are opposite genders (for countless reasons). However, you don't have that particular issue.

Your issue isn't so much about your older daughter being a teenager as it is about the age difference between your children. Both have vastly different needs and schedules, and they both need to be taken into account. Putting them in the same bedroom will likely cause issues with sleep as the teenager runs the risk of waking the little one and vice versa, at a time when sleep is extremely important for both of them.

They don't need to share a bedroom, though, at least for the time being. Your 1 year old can share your bedroom. You can also get creative with other rooms in your house and create a bedroom for someone. For example, if you have a finished basement or livable attic, you can turn it into the teenager's bedroom (many kids love the sense of privacy that having an entire floor to themselves brings). You could also section off the living room or some other room to create a bedroom for someone.

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    I agree; my answer would mostly just repeat this. If it were me, I'd rather take the 1yo into the parents' bedroom than have a 1yo and a 16yo share a room -- too many differences. Mar 14, 2013 at 20:43
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    I would add that this situation is temporary. The teenager will finish school soon and move out. Then the second room is free for the youngest daughter. Until that time the smaller child will actually profit emotionally from the intimacy of sharing a bedroom with her mother. Children don't want to sleep alone, it is just our culture that puts such emphasis on the parent's privacy.
    – user3140
    Mar 15, 2013 at 9:38

Assuming you're in the UK, a child of 16 or over should indeed be entitled to their own room: http://www.housing.org.uk/policy/welfare-reform/bedroom-tax

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