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 5 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.”


by Ian Narbeth

16:30 PM, 18th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Richard Peeters" at "18/10/2016 - 16:22":

Our Council have never asked for hand basins in rooms and we only put them in as part of an en-suite shower room.

A friend in another area persuaded his HMO officer that it was less hygienic to have a basin in the room than not to do so because male tenants will urinate in them.

by MoodyMolls

18:11 PM, 18th October 2016, About 5 years ago

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

Hi Neil
reading this article it looks like its 6.52 each tenant so a double would need to be 13.04

by Simon Williams

18:29 PM, 22nd October 2016, About 5 years ago

Totally disagree with those who seem to think that setting minimum room size of 6.52 sq meters is fine. I have a couple of properties with so-called box rooms of about 6 sq meters. In one case, it's a quite an upmarket flat in South West London with a decent kitchen diner and large living room and all rooms, especially the box room, are heavily over-subscribed when advertised for re-let.

The box room tenant has happily resided there for the last 2 years and she has very good shared amenity space. Love to show the doubters photos of the room and the flat and you'll see what it's like.

I have told the tenant that I am likely to have to evict her because of the room size and that this is because the government thinks she is, in effect, being exploited by me. She is incandescent with rage at the idea that this law will be introduced for her protection. I have told her to write to her MP, though fat lot of good that will do. I would really love Gavin Barwell to come round to my flat, speak to the tenant and just see what he is about to outlaw.

Yet another stupid law that gives local authorities no discretion to look at all the circumstances, such as the overall quality of the letting experience and amenities on offer.

Hardly a month goes by without some new, counter-productive law being passed or proposed. I just cannot predict this business anymore. I cannot plan.

by Grumpy Doug

23:35 PM, 22nd October 2016, About 5 years ago

More madness from this Government. Of my 34 rooms (in student houses), I'll be locking up 6 of them after this goes through, nearly 20% of my stock!'. In the years that I've been a landlord, there's always been a willing (skint) student more than willing to pay less for a single room. All of them fully kitted out with everything needed (bed, wardrobe, desk etc).

Replicated across the area, that'll be 100s or even 1000's of students who will be moving into other rental stock ... and as with all the other mad measures taking place, it will be the tenants least able to afford rents that will be forced out as landlords welcome the higher rents that this sector commands. The ripple effect could be quite dramatic. I mentioned this at a recent landlord event that I attended locally - it was scary how many landlords will be affected by this, as so many houses here have single rooms that are occupied but will not meet this criteria.

Housing crisis? - this is just vandalism!

My rents have remained unchanged for 5 years - my revenue and costs have been consistent over that period. No more I'm afraid so going up now

by MoodyMolls

9:36 AM, 23rd October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Grumpy Doug" at "22/10/2016 - 23:35":

Yes many people are happy with a smaller room even workers I would think that was staying Mon - FRri.

I have the problem with planners not letting me have studios they keep saying over development but I am asked for this accommodation again and again. Single people like them it keeps there bills down as well as cheaper to rent. Council tax lower gas electric much lower. But will they listen no and of course all the NIMBYs are out in force.

by Robert Mellors

10:40 AM, 30th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "KATHY MILLER" at "23/10/2016 - 09:36":

I find that my smaller rooms are generally more difficult to let, but occasionally I do get tenants who actually prefer a small room. When I've questioned why they like a small room they said it is cosier and it reminds them of their childhood bedroom so it feels more secure.

by Ross Tulloch

9:13 AM, 20th May 2017, About 4 years ago

How can it be that a landlord is exploiting anyone by letting out a room under 6.5m. No one HAS to rent it. If it is rented it is by the choice of the renter surely who is exploiting the smaller rent

by hemp kettletick

17:51 PM, 22nd September 2017, About 4 years ago

Ian Narbeth, 6.5m2 may not seem much but for the majority of home owners in expensive parts of London who own a victorian cottage (such as hampstead, primrose hill, kensington, richmond etc.), it's larger than most victorian cottage bedrooms (e.g. 2x3m is 6m2!).

For tenants who have been happily living in these areas in a 6m2 bedroom (which is 2x3m, which in london is a medium sized room with plenty of space for a bed & storage), many people would prefer it to a larger room in a less safe area; it seems ridiculous & immoral to kick all those happy tenants out & tell the owners they aren't allowed to rent out those rooms, particularly as strict planning & conservation area rules prevent extensions to many of these cottages. These after all, have been bedrooms for over 150 years, but are now relegated to mere storage rooms!

This is particularly unfair to single people or people who cannot have children for personal reasons, and for all intents & purposes rely on their friends/tenants as family.

It should also be noted that most councils in fact restrict the definition of family to only include relatives, although (depending on the personality of the council member you speak to) they might be willing to include unmarried couples in that definition.

by hemp kettletick

18:05 PM, 22nd September 2017, About 4 years ago

Although it's intended to increase living standards, in reality it doesn't take account for the number of high quality rooms in old victorian cottages in tree-lined safe vibrant areas, and instead pushes tenants into cheaper more dangerous areas where rooms are larger & cheaper or on the flip-side, favours millionaire landlords with huge rooms & houses.

It makes a lot of bedrooms of responsible landlords in beautiful victorian cottages in prime London, useless.

How can you tell a tenant who has happily had a 2x3m room for the past 15 years & has friends in the area, thinks of his landlord & housemates like family, they have a jazuzzi in the garden, frequent BBQs & get togethers, he got used to the area, local yoga club, rowing club & vibrant resources on the doorstep, that he has to suddenly move out to a cheaper dangerous area further from his work, an hour away where he knows no one, there aren't the same resources on the doorstep & where he ends up lonely & doesn't enjoy life, all because of a law made by people behind a desk who don't know the area or situation, in some distant council? Because this is what these rules are doing in reality to a lot of people.

by hemp kettletick

18:33 PM, 22nd September 2017, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Grumpy Doug at 22/10/2016 - 23:35
Hey Grumpy Doug
You should say "these criteria" or "this criterion" NOT "this criteria" as criteria is the plural of criterion. Whoops!

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