LANDLORDS are today welcoming new guidance for councils on room sizes in rented homes.
The guidance addresses concerns raised by the Residential Landlords Association (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, rooms in House of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) used for sleeping by one person over 10-years-old have had to be at least 6.51 square metres, and those slept in by two people over 10-years-old will have had to at least 10.22 square metres. Rooms slept in by children of 10 years and younger have had to be at least 4.64 square metres.
Whilst the RLA believes that tenants should never face the dangers of overcrowded accommodation, it was concerned 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.
Following extensive discussions with the Government, 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 House of Multiple Occupation (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 said:
“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.”
- The new guidance can be accessed at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/767310/HMOs_and_residential_property_licensing_reforms_guidance.pdf.
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