HMO room sizes – Does size really matter?

by Readers Question

11:59 AM, 20th April 2013
About 8 years ago

HMO room sizes – Does size really matter?

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HMO room sizes – Does size really matter?

HMO room sizes - Does size really matter?After having read a lot of articles that Mark has posted, some of which are very informative, some of which make me laugh out loud and some of which make me cry (as I have been in similar situations) I find I have come across something that has stumped me completely and hope the Property118 community can help.

My local council (Ceredigion) have changed the minimun space standards for its licensable HMO/bedsits/flats. 

Our council require have imposed additional licensing.

My question is to what document they refer to when they come up with the square footage requirements?

I can’t find anything in statue law, I have trawled the government website looking for any reference documents and failed.

My thought is that somewhere there must be some sort of national standard that some experts have produced, or do our local unelected housing inspectors just make it up as they go along?

As far as I can see each different council has a different square footage they require a lounge or kitchen to be but as they are all very similar so I have a feeling that there is some central document they all refer to so any ideas what that is called and where I get a copy?

I ask as I am currently at loggerheads with them over one of self-contained bedsit flats (one room for kitchen/bed/lounge with a shower cubical) it is now 0.28m2 too small (it did comply 2 years ago) and the HMO inspector wants me to knock the two flats into one at a huge cost before they will issue a licence.

Any ideas from the very knowable community?

Eirian Rogers



Comments

Edwin Cowper

11:37 AM, 24th April 2013
About 7 years ago

There are two issues which have not been mentioned so far:

1. Your MP

If you are having problems, thats what he or she is there to sort out, especially if there is a discretion and its not being exercised fairlt.

It seems to me that is exactly the sort of thing an MP should raise with the Secretary of State, to bring in a standard system in the future (which should not apply to current HMOs)

2. How exactly are current regulations made by the government written. I believe for nursing homes the government made detailed regulations, requiring definite space.to be given. Thats why some nursing/care homes ceased trading. But at least with fixed sizes you know exactly where you are. I don't think the present government will be too happy to find that the sizes and requirements are as different as the planning officers feet, You should remind your MP that the government wants single people to take up all these single units. Are the councils trying to sabotage that by reducing supply?

G Brown

17:09 PM, 24th April 2013
About 7 years ago

Shw mae Eirian,

I've had a comment during a HMO inspection that one of my rooms 'was on the small side' (at about 6.5m sq I think), but heard nothing about minimum room sizes for bedrooms which meant it wouldnt be lettable.

My authority is Swansea, and they dont refer to any bedroom sizes in their documentation:
http://www.swansea.gov.uk/media/pdf/4/f/22757-09_HMO_Am_Stand_1_.pdf

However, I have heard that inspectors will look at a property 'as a whole' in certain aspects, so maybe a massive lounge would offset the limited space of a smaller bedroom?

Having said that, two inspectors from the same authority can pick up on different things. i have an 'advisory' about a ceiling height which hasnt ever been mentioned since the property was first licenced about 11 years ago.

Ultimately, a smaller room would be harder to let, imho.... Ah, yes, the licencing fees!

Industry Observer

20:42 PM, 24th April 2013
About 7 years ago

I must be missing a trick here as there certainly are published minimum sizings for space for occupancy. Maybe they only apply to social housing landlords, but for sure in a licensing situation the LAs powers ecxtend dramatically.

All I can suggest is ask your own housing department/EHO for whatever guidelines exist and that they go by.

Robert M

16:48 PM, 25th April 2013
About 7 years ago

Easy. Remove the skirting boards and hack off the plaster back to bricks on the external walls. That will probably give you the extra space required. (Reminds me of the childhood lament "Sorry Miss, but he started it !!!")

Robert M

11:43 AM, 26th April 2013
About 7 years ago

"I ask as I am currently at loggerheads with them over one of self-contained bedsit flats (one room for kitchen/bed/lounge with a shower cubical) it is now 0.28m2 too small (it did comply 2 years ago) and the HMO inspector wants me to knock the two flats into one at a huge cost before they will issue a licence."

OK - well I could not resist that last answer. Maths is not my strong point but the area is the length of a ruler x 1cm? Ask the Inspector very politely to refer the matter to his line manager as you would prefer to avoid having to take the matter to a property tribunal.

I would like to know what the target m2 is that your falling so far short of.

Joe Bloggs

11:47 AM, 26th April 2013
About 7 years ago

maths isnt my strong point either but its the length of a ruler x 1m!

Badger

9:42 AM, 3rd May 2013
About 7 years ago

Or, in old money (which I still find easier to visualise on occasion) a tiny fraction over 3 square feet.

Richard Seed

7:09 AM, 2nd December 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by " " at "20/04/2013 - 13:27":

Re room size my council cambridge are using housing act 2004 and tell me that the room needs to be 70 sq feet weree thereis a communal room and 100 where there isn't.

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