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RLA publish updated guides on HMO room sizes

RLA
Written by RLA

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!..

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.

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.

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RLA

RLA

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

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  • What is wrong with setting a minimum room size?
    It’s about time a minimum room size was set.
    It will be a knockon for private house buyers as well.
    How many times do you look at a house and find the boxroom is classed as a bedroom, and therefore reflected in the council tax payable!
    Now because some landlords market these boxrooms as bedrooms they are suddenly criminals????????
    What we are really looking at here is the quality of our domestic environment, whether it be private or rented, and room size is important.
    I look forward to these arguments, especially as a council will rate a room whereby it can contain a threequarter bed with room to walk down one side as a fully rateable bedroom.
    By a councils own definition if the room contains a bed it’s a bedroom.
    Instead of trying to hammer the odd rogue landlord , why don’t they try and take on the builders and make them build houses with proper sized rooms?
    would that not be a more noble cause than the petty courses they presently follow?

  • I will admit first that I haven’t read the attachment, but just have a general query.

    In general terms HMOs are ‘normal’ properties that have may have had slight modifications. If councils go not set minimum room sizes for newly built properties (and definitely didn’t for older properties) how can they insist on it for HMOs? The nett result would be that owner occupiers and single family unit renters are disadvantaged as they do not get the same protection of minimum room size requirements?

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