Please Note: This Article is 9 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

Overcrowding – I have been asked to accommodate a family of 4 in my 2-bed apartment, but I’m not sure if this would be legal? The two children, a boy aged 8 and a girl aged 7 would have to share a bedroom.

The Housing Act 1985 (s324-326) sets out the *current statutory requirements for accommodation space in single households in the private rented sector (PRS). Overcrowding by this legal definition will occur if there are not enough rooms for the occupants, or the rooms available are too small.

The Act sets out penalties for allowing overcrowding for both landlords and occupants.

The Housing Act 2004 also has provisions to control overcrowding in both single dwellings and HMO accommodation through the risk assessment based Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS Hazard 11 – Crowding and Space) and the local authority administered HMO Licensing system.

According to the 1985 Act there are two standards which must both be met: (1) The Room Standard and (2) The Space Standard.

To meet (1) The Room Standard the number of people sleeping in a dwelling must be such that two persons of opposite sexes, not sleeping together as husband and wife, must not be forced to share a room. In this regard (a) children under 10 years of age do not count, and (b) a sleeping room may be either a bedroom or a living room.

To meet (2) The Space Standard the floor area of all rooms above 50 square feet in a dwelling is taken into account when calculating the number of occupants allowed. Children under 1 year old do not count and between 1 and 10 years count as 0.5 unit.


Table 1 (Room Standard)

Rooms Persons
1 2
2 3
3 5
4 7.5
5 or more 2 each room

Table 2 (Space Standard)

Floor Area Persons
>110 sq ft 2
>90 sq ft 1.5
>70 sq ft 1
>50 sq ft 0.5
<50 sq ft 0

Therefore, a couple with two children under 10 in a 2 bed apartment (assuming the space standard is met) would easily meet the statutory requirements.

More information from LGR formerly LACORS:

*The current standard was set in the 1930s and is now deemed to be outdated. There are moves afoot to revise the standard – see the CLG consultation paper “Tackling Overcrowding in England” see:

©LandlordZONE All Rights Reserved – never rely totally on these standard answers which apply primarily to England and Wales. Before taking action or not, always do your own research and/or seek professional advice with the full facts of the case and all documents to hand.

Please Note: This Article is 9 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.


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