Some Local Councils behave as if they are able to dictate minimum room sizes. The RLA has published updated guides from the Landlord Advice Team (LAT) and RLA Policy Director, Richard Jones, showing this is not the case. However, this does not mean any space can be used as a room!
Mandatory licensing of HMO properties is increasingly likely and Local Councils do have authority when it comes to setting some standards. For example, a Council can decide how many people can live in a property.
Councils can set guidance on minimum room sizes but they can’t make it a binding requirement. If a landlord feels the rest of living space in the property is suitable then they can appeal the process and let a tribunal decide.
The Simple Guide to Room Size provides a quick explanation of what Local Councils can do when it comes to ‘setting’ room sizes. The reality is that Councils cannot specify room sizes and that any ‘standard’ set out by the Council should be viewed as guidance.
- Read / download the RLA Simple Guide to Room Size.
This does not mean that any space can be used as a bedroom; however circumstances such as how you deal with sloping ceilings (restricting head height), configuration of the room, and provision of power points may be all factors. The property as a whole, in terms of kitchens, bathrooms and communal spaces must be able to provide adequate amenities. For example, if there is a communal room significantly larger than minimum standards it could be a pointer towards a smaller bedroom being acceptable.
Policy Director Richard Jones explores the decision of the Upper Tribunal case of Clark v Manchester City Council in the more detail in the second guidance for HMO room sizes.