Measures to improve overcrowded and dangerous living conditions in the private rental sector were laid before Parliament this month by the Housing Minister Heather Wheeler.
Councils will be given tougher powers including imposing fines of up to £30,000 to tackle landlords that rent out overcrowded properties. From October this year minimum room sizes will be introduced for licensable HMO properties along with limits on how many people can occupy rooms of a set size. Councils will be given powers to either apply national standards or tougher measures if there is a need in their local area. Our previous posts on this topic can be read here.
The room size requirements are:
- Rooms slept in by 1 person over the age of 10 will have to be no smaller than 6.51 square metres; and
- Rooms slept in by 2 people over the age of 10 will have to be no smaller than 10.22 square metres.
- Rooms slept in by children of 10 years and younger will have to be no smaller than 4.64 square metres.
These measures will apply to all landlords applying for new licenses and for those with existing licenses an 18-month transition period will be applied. Waste storage facilities will also have to be supplied by landlords to prevent waste mounting up outside rented properties.
All these measures are designed to improve tenants occupation of a property and reduce health and safety risks associated with too many people sharing cooking and washing facilities.
With mandatory licensing changing and extending to properties with one and two storeys occupied by 5 or more people these room size requirements will also affect a lot more landlords. It will mean that some rooms will no longer be available for letting. Attention should therefore be given to whether you could be affected by the new licensing requirements and if so take whatever steps needed to ensure that the room sizes comply with these new measures.