The government has set out new measures to mitigate against overcrowded and dangerous living conditions of private tenants in shared homes.
From October councils will be able to set minimum bedroom size standards and also introduce limits on how many people can live in each bedroom of a licenced multiple occupancy home.
Councils will be able to use national minimum standards or apply even tougher requirements in order to address specific local needs.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says: “This move will help ensure tenants have the space they need and deserve as well as reduce health and safety risks they face by sharing cooking and washing facilities with too many people.
“The new standards will apply to all landlords seeking new licences. Landlords of existing properties will be given up to 18 months to make necessary changes when re-applying for a licence when it expires.”
In a move to stop rubbish piling up outside some shared rented homes, the government says landlords will also be required to provide adequate waste storage facilities in line with their local authority’s rules. If they fail to do so they could face a fine.
Last month new legislation was introduced requiring more landlords to obtain a licence from their council. Landlords of one and two-storey multiple occupancy properties will be brought within scope of mandatory licensing requirements across England, affecting roughly 160,000 additional properties.
In more detail, here are the minimum space requirements put forward by the government:
“Rooms used for sleeping by one person over 10 will have to be no smaller than 6.51 square metres, and those slept in by two people over 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.
“The licence must specify the maximum number of persons (if any) who may occupy any room and the total number across the different rooms must be the same as the number of persons for whom the property is suitable to live in.
“National mandatory licensing currently only applies to houses in multiple occupation that have three or more storeys and occupied by five or more people. It is being extended to cover one/two storey houses in multiple occupation which are occupied by five or more people.”