Regulation and Enforcement

Revealed: New HMO room size regulations to come in this autumn

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

From October councils will be able to set minimum bedroom size standards for HMOs – and also introduce limits on how many people can live in each bedroom.

Councils will be able to use national minimum standards or apply even tougher requirements if they feel there is a specific problem in a local area.

Minimum space requirements

Rooms used for sleeping by one person over 10-years-old will have to be no smaller than 6.51 square metres, and those slept in by two people over 10-years-old 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 HMO 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 people the house is to be home to.

Who do these new rules apply to?

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.

The Government laid the Draft Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018, before Parliament yesterday.

It said the regulation will give councils new powers to tackle the small minority of rogue landlords who rent out overcrowded properties.

They will be able to impose fines of up to £30,000 for those landlords who do not comply.

In a move to stop rubbish piling up outside some shared rented homes landlords will also be required to provide an adequate number of bins – in line with their local authority’s rules. If they fail to do so they could face a fine.

Announcing the new rules Minister for the PRS, Heather Wheeler MP said: “Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live.

“But some tenants are being exploited by a minority of unscrupulous landlords who profit from renting out cramped and sometimes squalid or dangerous properties.

“Today’s measures will mean landlords must provide adequate space for their tenants or face a hefty fine.

“It is part of a raft of new powers for councils to crack down on rogue landlords and comprehensive action we are taking to improve conditions for private tenants.”

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.

A total of 16% of landlords responding to the RLA’s most recent members’ survey said they let out HMOs. Will you be affected by the changes? Let us know by emailing

The RLA runs a principles of HMO course. For more, information, dates and to book click here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

1 Comment

  • Hackney Council has recently given approval to its two proposed licensing schemes, one of which is to licence in certain wards all HMO’s the definition of which is two or more households sharing facilities…… regardless of type of building. We manage two bed flats in a highly desirable 1970’s built block, the second bedrooms of which would not meet the proposed room sizes, but the flats have huge lounges. Nevertheless, the landlords of these flats, if comprising two sharers (therefore two households) or more would be caught out because the flats are categorised as an HMO because of the local licensing scheme, but if occupied by a family, however large, would not be !

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