Minimum Space and Storage Laws Explained
This year, the government implemented new measures which hope to combat overcrowding in properties, increasing the quality of life of tenants as well as keeping rogue landlords in check. The emphasis here is on minimum size of a room which can be deemed a bedroom as well as the amount of people which can reside in each bedroom in a home of multiple occupancy (HMO).
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government are even seeking to add tougher laws to areas of cities where overcrowding is known to be an issue – such as estates in or tower blocks where substandard living accommodation is prolific. The new laws are also in place to minimise health and safety risks to tenants and also include minimum space requirements for kitchen and bathrooms for preparing food and washing.
For landlords attempting to obtain new licenses when listing their properties for the first time via an online property agent, these minimum space laws are mandatory. But for landlords who own existing HMO properties, there is a grace period of up to 18 months to ensure work is carried out and the necessary space requirements fulfilled.
Regarding the outside of properties, new measures are also set to come into place on the amount of refuse that is piled up outside. This is to reduce anti social behaviour claims, with landlords now required to provide adequate waste storage facilities which fall in line with local council regulations. Failure to do so is likely to incur a fine. The need for HMO licensing is now thought to affect around 160,000 properties in the UK, including:
- Landlords who own one or two story HMOs
- Any properties occupied by five or more unrelated individuals
- Any proper with facilities shared by two or more families
The total number of rooms declared in an HMO as well as the amount of people sleeping in a property must match up to the number of individuals that the property is deemed habitable by. Currently, HMO licenses are mandatory for houses of three or more storeys, occupied by five or more people, but this is currently under review and seeks to include two storey buildings where five or more people reside.
Also, tenants must be shown the HMO license prior to moving in. If this does not happen, the landlord will not be able to serve a Section 21 eviction notice, should they desire later down the line. The minimum space requirements for bedrooms state:
- Rooms used for sleeping by one person over 10 must be no smaller than 6.51 square metres
- Rooms slept in by two people over 10 must be no smaller than 10.22 square metres
- Rooms slept in by children of 10 years and younger must be no smaller than 4.64 square metres
It is hoped that these new laws will dramatically improve the living standards of tenants and rid the Private Rental Sector of substandard housing based on overcrowding and unregulated safety issues, helping tip the balance of the sector in the favour of tenants, cracking down on rogue landlords and upping the standards they are require to adhere to.
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February 12, 2021
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