Space standards and overcrowding are addressed by Hazard 11 (crowding and space) of HHSRS.

Shortage of space and overcrowding can increase the risks associated with other hazards, i.e. falls, collisions, burns and scalds, and fire. Therefore sufficient space is required to enable the household to safely utilise all facilities within the dwelling.

The tables below describe the minimum space requirements for general property configurations. They are for general guidance only and adequate room sizes will be assessed on individual merits. However, where such an assessment has identified a crowding and space hazard, consideration will be given for compliance where there is an existing tenancy agreement, at the expiry of the tenancy or where the tenancy agreement is for longer than 12 months, action must be taken to obtain possession to ensure compliance.

The HMO must not be overcrowded. Sleeping accommodation must ensure adequate privacy. Any sharing of the sleeping accommodation will be dependant on the size of the room and the relationship of those sharing. Children over the age of 10 years old can share a sleeping room only with other child/children of the same sex.

Sleeping accommodation will be in the form of single or double rooms and each room must be occupied by a single household i.e. related persons such as husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister etc. This also includes co-habiting couples and same sex couples. This means that a landlord cannot place two unrelated persons in a room unless those persons have agreed between themselves, and without coercion, to share a room which is large enough for two persons.

Typically, friends might choose a property with this sharing in mind but, should one of them choose to leave, the landlord cannot place another person to share the room with the remaining person from the original sharers. Every room used as a sleeping room should be at least capable of accommodating together with activity space for each item:

  • a bed
  • a wardrobe, which may be built-in, or cupboard of adequate size.
  • a chest of drawers

Useable Space

Useable space is space that can be used for everyday activities, such as dressing, eating and recreation. The amount of useable space required will depend on whether or not communal living space is available.

Certain areas of the floor space may not be counted for the purposes of calculating useable space e.g. the space occupied by the alcoves either side of a chimney breast or the space needed to open a door in a narrow corridor.

Any floor area which does not have a minimum floor to ceiling height of 1.5m will normally be discounted from the room area calculation. Where rooms do not meet the standard, discretion may be exercised if there are compensatory factors. The HMO team should be contacted for advice in such circumstances.

Space Standards for Student Houses and Bedsits

Minimum bedroom sizes in bedsits and student accommodation where kitchen facilities are shared

Minimum bedroom sizes in bedsits and student accommodation where kitchen facilities are located within bedrooms

Minimum communal space sizes

Space Standards for Self-Contained Flats

Minimum non-sleeping room sizes

Minimum bedroom sizes