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Alexandra Morris, Managing Director of MakeUrMove, shares details on what landlords need to know on the laws of overcrowding in rental properties. At the end of 2018, the government introduced details of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act, which is to replace the Landlord and Tenant Act. Set to be introduced on the 20th March 2019, the purpose of the act is to ensure that all rental properties are fit for habitation by tenants.
One aspect of a property being fit for habitation includes the issue of overcrowding. Here’s what you need to know about the laws and how you can prevent yourself from being fined.
How to tell if your property is overcrowded
If you currently let your property out to tenants, but are concerned it might be overcrowded, there are two ways you can tell.
One is through the ‘room standard’. If you have two people of the opposite sex that have to sleep in the same room, then your property is classed as overcrowded.
There are two exceptions to this rule though – if the two people are a couple, or if they are children aged under 10.
The other method is called the ‘space standard’, which can be calculated in two ways. This is either through the number of rooms or the floor space of each room.
If you base it on the number of rooms your property has, the maximum number of people is as follows:
1 room = 2 people (max)
2 rooms = 3 people (max)
3 rooms = 5 people (max)
4 rooms = 7.5 people (max)
5 rooms = 10 people (max)
You should only count bedrooms and living rooms within the rooms.
To check for overcrowding based on floor space you need to measure the size of each room that is used as a bedroom or living room.
If a room has a floor area of between 50-69 square feet, then it is not fit for adults. If it’s between 70-89, it’s for one person only, 90-109 it’s can fit an adult and a child, and 110 and above, it can fit a maximum of two people.
As well as ensuring that tenants have enough space within the house, the new measures, which were introduced last year, mean that landlords also have to provide an adequate amount of rubbish bins for the property. If landlords don’t, and the waste piles up outside the property, they could face a fine.
Fines for overcrowding
It’s important that you always ensure your rental properties adhere to the overcrowding rules. One of the main consequences of renting out overcrowded property to tenants include fines.
New measures introduced last year means landlords who don’t comply with the rules on overcrowding can face fines of up to £30,000.
A recent case saw a landlord fined almost £3,000 after allowing at least seven people let a two bedroom flat.
Rogue landlord database
The other risk with allowing your property to be overcrowded could see you receive a banning order, which means you will be unable to let out your property. Your name could also be placed on a rogue landlord database.
MakeUrMove’s Good Landlord package includes Property Licence Monitoring, so it can ensure your property always remains compliant, as well as granting access to your own landlord portal where you can managing and store all your properties in one place.
For more information, please visit: www.makeurmove.co.uk.
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