News: Government introduces new room size guidance

Mon, 24 Dec 18

The introduction of new guidance on room sizes in rented homes has been warmly welcomed by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

The guidance addresses concerns raised by the RLA that recent changes to room size regulations could have led to landlords being in breach of the law where a pregnant tenant gave birth.

Since October this year, new regulations have been in place bringing mandatory licensing to all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in order to better protect tenants from poor living conditions.

Under the new rules, rooms used for sleeping by one person over 10-years-old have had to be at least 6.51sqm, and those slept in by two people over 10-years-old will have had to at least 10.22sqm. Rooms slept in by children of 10 years and younger have had to be at least 4.64sqm. 

However, the RLA had expressed concern that the changes could have seen councils required to take action against landlords where a tenant gave birth and as a result there were two people in a room sized for one. A landlord who sought to evict in this scenario would be carrying out unlawful discrimination.

But the newly published guidance makes clear that this will not happen. It notes that in instances where a tenant has given birth to a child since moving into a HMO, that there is an expectation that local authorities will not be acting in the public interest if they commence a prosecution.

David Smith, policy director for the RLA, commented: “We warmly welcome this new guidance. It reflects considerable work between the RLA and the government in addressing serious concerns about the consequences of the room size changes.

“The government has clearly listened to our concerns and this document should provide much greater assurances to landlords and tenants alike.”

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