Measures to tackle overcrowded housing

New housing measures to apply minimum room sizes to shared homes have been announced by Housing Minister Gavin Barwell.

In an attempt to tackle rogue landlords cramming tenants into unsafe and overcrowded homes, the measures will seek to improve standards for shared homes by making it clear that bedrooms must not fall below a minimum room size, 6.52 square metres, closing a loophole which lets some landlords let out rooms far too small for an adult to occupy.

Other intended measures to help councils raise standard in shared homes will require landlords of shared homes to provide decent storage and disposal of rubbish, and ensure more detailed and regular criminal record checks for landlords.

At present, licensing only kick-ins for homes with three or more floors and excludes homes attached to businesses, unless they are in a three storey buildings. However, the proposals put forward will ensure that mandatory licensing rules apply to all shared homes with five or more people and to flats above and below shops and other business premises. Where a landlord fails to obtain a licence they will be liable to pay a potentially unlimited fine.

Barwell said: “In order to build a country that truly works for everyone we must ensure that everyone has somewhere safe and secure to live.

“These measures will give councils the powers they need to tackle poor-quality rental homes in their area. By driving out rogue landlords that flout the rules out of business, we are raising standards and giving tenants the protection they need.”