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Government announce new room size guidance

Houses in Multiple Occupation and residential property licensing reform Guidance for Local Housing Authorities Click here

“3. 4 What is the minimum sleeping room size?

The minimum sleeping room floor area sizes (subject to the measurement restrictions detailed in the paragraphs below) to be imposed as conditions of Part 2 licences are:
• 6.51m square for one person over 10 years of age
• 10.22m square for two persons over 10 years

The minimum size for sleeping accommodation does not apply to charities providing night shelters or temporary accommodation for people suffering or recovering from drug or alcohol abuse or mental disorders.

The Mandatory Conditions Regulations 2018 amend Schedule 4 of the Act, introducing the following new conditions:
•Mandatory national minimum sleeping room sizes (See paras 3.3 – 3.10); and
• Waste disposal provision requirements (See paras 3.11). 15
• 4.64m square for one child under the age of 10 years

It will also be a mandatory condition that any room of less than 4.64m square may not be used as sleeping accommodation and the landlord will need to notify the local housing authority of any room in the HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64m square. The measurement is one of wall to wall floor area where the ceiling height is greater than 1.5m. No part of a room should be included in the measurement where the ceiling height is less than 1.5m.”

RLA: Landlords are today welcoming new guidance for councils on room sizes in rented homes.

The guidance addresses concerns raised by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) that recent changes to room size regulations could have led to landlords being in breach of the law where a pregnant tenant gave birth.

Since October this year, rooms used for sleeping by one person over 10-years-old have had to be at least  6.51 square metres, and those slept in by two people over 10-years-old will have had to at least 10.22 square metres. Rooms slept in by children of 10 years and younger have had to be at least 4.64 square metres.

Whilst the RLA believes that tenants should never face the dangers of overcrowded accommodation, it was concerned that the changes could have seen councils required to take action against landlords where a tenant gave birth and as a result there were two people in a room sized for one. A landlord who sought to evict in this scenario would be carrying out unlawful discrimination.

Following extensive discussions with the Government, newly published guidance makes clear that this will not happen. It notes that in instances where a tenant has given birth to a child since moving into a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO),  that there is an expectation that local authorities will not be acting in the public interest if they commence a prosecution.

David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA said: “We warmly welcome this new guidance. It reflects considerable work between the RLA and the Government in addressing serious concerns about the consequences of the room size changes.

“The Government has clearly listened to our concerns and this document should provide much greater assurances to landlords and tenants alike.”

Source: Property118