Overcrowding - Statutory Overcrowding (Housing Act 1985)
What is overcrowding?
If your accommodation is too small for your household you may be considered to be living in overcrowded conditions under the law. Overcrowding can be caused by having too many people in a room or by the having too many people for the size of the room.
The Council uses the statutory overcrowding standard under the Housing Act 1985. This legislation which defines overcrowding is based on a room standard and a space standard.
Why do we need 'Overcrowding Standards'?
People require adequate space in which to live and sleep. It has been known for many years that overcrowded conditions has a detrimental affect on both physical and mental health.
How many people can occupy a room?
As a general rule:
- 1 room = 2 people
- 2 rooms = 3 people
- 3 rooms = 5 people
- 4 rooms = 7.5 people
- 5 or more rooms = 2 people per room.
or room sizes:
- more than 110 sq feet (10.2 sq metres approx) = 2 people
- 90 - 109 sq ft (8.4 - 10.2 sq m approx) = 1.5 people
- 70 - 89 sq ft (6.5 - 8.4 sq m approx) = 1 person
- 50 - 69 sq ft (4.6 - 6.5 sq m approx) = 0.5 people.
- Less that 50 sq ft = not suitable as sleeping accommodation
Note: children under one year old are not taken into account and children between the ages of one and ten years count as half a person.
Can anyone share a room?
If two children of ten years of age or older, of the opposite sex have to sleep in the same room, then the accommodation will be classed as overcrowded.
Do you count just bedrooms?
Rooms that are counted include living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms and large kitchens. Rooms under 50 square feet are also discounted. As a result the overcrowding standard may not be breached even if by current day thinking there are too few bedrooms. Current legislation does not dictate how rooms are to be used.
Is overcrowding permitted?
Overcrowding is only allowed if the following applies:
- Natural growth - such as a child reaching one of the specified ages
- Temporary situation, for example if someone comes to live in your home for a short time
- Licensed overcrowding where the Council has given permission
For more information on overcrowding please contact us.
Where can I find other accommodation?
If you are a private tenant it is unlikely that you can make your home larger. You will probably have to consider other housing options. This might mean finding larger private rented accommodation, applying for a council or housing association house or asking the council to help you because you are homeless.
If you are a Council or Housing association tenant, it may be possible to get a transfer to another property.
Last Modified: 6/11/2013