6.5 sq metre minimum room size for HMOs

6.5 sq metre minimum room size for HMOs

11:03 AM, 18th October 2016, About 6 years ago 27

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The Government has proposed a minimum room size of 6.5 sq metres (70 sq feet) for a rented room in an HMO.small room

This is in an effort to stop tenants from being crammed into overcrowded properties and to set minimum standards creating a level playing field for good landlords. This proposal will only relate to properties in England.

The Housing Act 1985 does specify minimum floor area requirements, but in tribunal case lost by Oxford Council last year it was ruled that the standards could only be a form of guidance and not a legal requirement.

The government has said it wants to make the new minimum floor area mandatory along with other proposals to help councils bring an end to ruthless landlords who exploit tenants and charge them extortionate rents to live in poor conditions.

The consultation paper published yesterday also include extending mandatory licensing rules for HMOs to flats above shops and other business premises, requiring landlords to provide decent storage and disposal of rubbish, and tightening up the ‘fit and proper person’ test to be a landlord.

Gavin Barwell, housing and planning minister  said “in order to build a country that truly works for everyone we must ensure that everyone has somewhere safe and secure to live.”

“These measures will give councils the powers they need to tackle poor quality rental homes in their area. By driving out rogue landlords that flout the rules of business, we are raising standards and giving tenants the protection they need.”

In a response to these new proposals the RLA Policy Director, David Smith, said in a press release, “we agree that tackling criminal landlords must be a priority.”

“We wait to see the full details, but powers are already available to tackle overcrowding which is about the number of people crammed into a room, not the size of a room.”

“What is needed is proper enforcement of existing powers.”



12:06 PM, 18th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Is not the 6.52 just single and I thought it was near 10 for couples?

Sam Addison View Profile

12:37 PM, 18th October 2016, About 6 years ago

My concern is the mandatory licensing for flats above shops. We have already had our flat inspected for hazards and suitability. Now, because these flats seem to have a bad name, we will be faced with a license fee. Anyone doubt that Salford Council will use this to make money?

Neil Patterson View Profile

13:34 PM, 18th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "KATHY MILLER" at "18/10/2016 - 12:06":

Hi Kathy, It is far from clear in the paper so I have changed the article to be more ambiguous:

From >> https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/560777/HMO_Tech_Disc_RESPONSE_DOC.pdf

Section 2: other potential changes to licensing – minimum room sizes
Section 326 of the Housing Act 1985 specifies a minimum room size for sleeping
accommodation to be 6.5m² (70 ft²). Statutory overcrowding may result if a person causes or permits an adult to sleep in a room with a floor area of less than 6.5m²; anything smaller than this space standard is deemed to be unsuitable for an adult to occupy as sleeping spaceThis standard is of general application.

Due to a recent ruling by the Upper Tier Tribunal (Lands Chamber) Clark V Manchester City Council (2015) UKUT 0129(LC) local authorities are uncertain whether the standard applies to HMOs, enabling rooms that would fail the overcrowding standards being suitable to be licensed for sleeping in. We proposed in the discussion paper to remove this uncertainty and allow local authorities to
assert the statutory minimum requirements.

Robert M View Profile

13:58 PM, 18th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Will the law also apply to Councils and Housing Associations (Registered Social Landlords) so that they cannot apply the "bedroom tax" to rooms that are smaller than 6.52 sqm? or is it okay for "social" landlords to still cram in loads of people and make them pay for small bedrooms? Where is the "level playing field", when councils are allowed to be "ruthless landlords who exploit tenants and charge them extortionate rents to live in poor conditions"??

According to Shelter's "Living Home Standard" report (released yesterday), in terms of space we find 16% of private rented homes are not big enough, yet 22% of council housing and 23% of HA homes are not. - So who is cramming people into small properties and exploiting tenants?........... it is not the private landlords, it is the "social" landlords who are forcing tenants into small properties and then charging them the "bedroom tax" for rooms which are too small to be bedrooms (i.e. rooms well below the 6.52sqm).

Yes it is those "social" landlord councils who are given the power to enforce the room size standards against the private landlords!!!! - How can that possibly be right? Where is the level playing field? Where is the justice?

The wording and tone of the article is just more propaganda BS to unfairly attack private landlords.

Robert M View Profile

14:13 PM, 18th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "18/10/2016 - 13:34":

Thank you for the clarification Neil. However, if memory serves me right, (and please correct me if I'm wrong) the overcrowding provisions also allow the Council to count kitchens and living room space when considering whether a property is "overcrowded" and that is how they manage to get away with having so many overcrowded council properties.

By overcrowded, I mean more members of a household than there are bed spaces for, based on one person in a single bedroom and 2 in a double bedroom, e.g. 4 adults in a 2 bed house with one double and one single room to me seems overcrowded, but the council do not accept this as "overcrowded" when considering whether to rehouse the family, so they leave them in this overcrowded situation.


15:01 PM, 18th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Sorry to be pedantic, but the proposed minimum size is 6.5 m2 (approx 70 sq ft), and NOT 70 sq ft (approx 6.52 m2). The metric version is the legally valid one, and the imperial size is an approximation, not the other way around.

Ian Narbeth View Profile

15:24 PM, 18th October 2016, About 6 years ago

6.5 sq metres for a single room in an HMO is not that much. Our Council has a minimum requirement of 8.5 sq m for a single and 12 sq m for a couple living in a room. They have discretion to go below that (e.g. if there is ample shared living accommodation) but will not go below 6.5.

It is somewhat different for a family living together in a house because they can use the common areas for storage of their belongings.

If landlords with a straight face argue that a room smaller than 6.5 square metres is acceptable they will only give ammunition to those who attack us.


16:11 PM, 18th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Narbeth" at "18/10/2016 - 15:24":

Hi Ian

Thats the highest I have seen is it up to the ind councils then ? I dont think 6.5 is to bad if the numbers in the house are less than six and they have a living room to use. Might to tight is no living room?

Neil Patterson View Profile

16:19 PM, 18th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Richard Peeters" at "18/10/2016 - 15:01":

Duly noted and amended 🙂


16:22 PM, 18th October 2016, About 6 years ago

And how many hand wash basins* can one fit into a room of 6.5 m2 😉

* Mandatory for licensed HMOs "where reasonably practicable", and none of the arguments of cost or damage or aesthetics or lack of demand, will soften this.

Another marching cause for Property118 aka Landlords Union?

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