HMO Minimum Room Sizes

The Law versus What Councils and Local Authorities demand

The legal requirement for minimum room sizes currently applies only to properties which are required to be licensed.

However, this applies to any type of HMO

3 or 4 persons sharing, where one person is not related to the others

This is an HMO and may need an ‘Additional HMO Licence’. If it needs one, the Minimum Room Sizes Apply.

5 or more persons sharing, where one person is not related to the others

This is an HMO requiring a Mandatory HMO Licence. The Minimum Room Sizes Apply.

HMOs to which the Minimum Room Sizes do NOT APPLY are:

3 or more persons sharing, where one person is not related to the others

and

Neither a Mandatory HMO Licence, nor an Additional HMO Licence, is required

Any demand for room sizes  greater than the minimum sizes by your Council or Local Authority is only “Aspirational” and not a legal requirement. If your Council is demanding larger room areas either before issuing a licence, or as a condition in a draft licence, and this would cause you a problem DO NOT ACCEPT the draft licence and contact us immediately for help. You only have 14 days to challenge this with what are called ‘representations’.

The Statutory Minimum Room Sizes

For persons aged over 10 years:

One Person occupying the room: not less than 6.51 square metres

Two Persons occupying the room: not less than 10.22 square metres

For persons aged 10 years or under:

One child occupying the room: not less than 4.64 square metres 

Important Notes:

These minimum sizes apply to any room that is used as sleeping accommodation if it is normally used as a bedroom, whether or not it is also used for other purposes.

Visitors who sleep overnight on an occasional basis are not treated as occupying the room. 

However, the landlord is required to take steps to rectify a situation where a tenant is in breach of their tenancy conditions by allowing any such person to occupy the room on a permanent basis.

The Government's non-statutory guidance "Houses in Multiple Occupation and residential property licensing reform: Guidance for Local Housing Authorities" states that the statutory minimum is not intended to be the optimal room size and that local authorities will continue to have discretion to set their own higher standards within licence conditions but must not set a lower standard. This means local authorities are entitled to produce guidance on what room size they consider acceptable. 

  • However, they are not able to apply their guidance as if it has statutory force.
  • The Legal Requirements:

    The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018

    Citation, commencement and application

    1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018 and come into force on 1st October 2018.

    (2) The amendments to the Housing Act 2004 made by regulation 2 do not apply to a licence granted before 1st October 2018.

    Amendment to Schedule 4 to the Housing Act 2004  (only the most relevant parts are shown here)

    2. In Schedule 4 to the Housing Act 2004 (licences under Parts 2 and 3: mandatory conditions),

    after paragraph 1 insert—

    “Additional conditions to be included in licences under Part 2: floor area etc

    1A.—(1) Where the HMO is in England, a licence under Part 2 must include the following conditions.

    (2) Conditions requiring the licence holder—

    (a) to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged over 10 years is not less than 6.51 square metres;

    (b) to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by two persons aged over 10 years is not less than 10.22 square metres;

    (c) to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged under 10 years is not less than 4.64 square metres;

    (d) to ensure that any room in the HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64 square metres is not used as sleeping accommodation.

    (3) Conditions requiring the licence holder to ensure that—

    (a) where any room in the HMO is used as sleeping accommodation by persons aged over 10 years only, it is not used as such by more than the maximum number of persons aged over 10 years specified in the licence;

    (b) where any room in the HMO is used as sleeping accommodation by persons aged under 10 years only, it is not used as such by more than the maximum number of persons aged under 10 years specified in the licence;

    (c) where any room in the HMO is used as sleeping accommodation by persons aged over 10 years and persons aged under 10 years, it is not used as such by more than the maximum number of persons aged over 10 years specified in the licence and the maximum number of persons aged under 10 years so specified.

    (4) Conditions which apply if—

    (a) any of the conditions imposed pursuant to sub-paragraph (2) or (3) have been breached in relation to the HMO,

    (b) the licence holder has not knowingly permitted the breach, and

    (c) the local housing authority have notified the licence holder of the breach, and which require the licence holder to rectify the breach within the specified period.

    (5) In sub-paragraph (4) the specified period means the period, of not more than 18 months beginning with the date of the notification, which is specified in the notification.

    (6) Conditions requiring the licence holder to notify the local housing authority of any room in the HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64 square metres.

    (7) In this paragraph a reference to a number of persons using a room in an HMO as sleeping accommodation does not include a person doing so as a visitor of an occupier(2) of the HMO.

    (8) For the purposes of this paragraph a room is used as sleeping accommodation if it is normally used as a bedroom, whether or not it is also used for other purposes.

    (9) Any part of the floor area of a room in relation to which the height of the ceiling is less than 1.5 metres is not to be taken into account in determining the floor area of that room for the purposes of this paragraph.

    (10) This paragraph does not apply to an HMO which is managed by a charity registered under the Charities Act 2011 and which—

    (a) is a night shelter, or

    (b) consists of temporary accommodation for persons suffering or recovering from drug or alcohol abuse or a mental disorder.

    Time for compliance with conditions under paragraph 1A(2) and (3)

    1B.—(1) This paragraph applies in relation to an HMO in England in respect of the first licence granted on or after 1st October 2018 in relation to the HMO, regardless of whether a licence was in force in relation to the HMO immediately before that date.

    (2) If the local housing authority consider that, at the time the licence is granted, the licence holder is not complying with one or more of the conditions of the licence imposed pursuant to paragraph 1A(2) and (3), the authority must when granting the licence provide the licence holder with a notification specifying the condition or conditions and the period within which the licence holder is required to comply with the condition or conditions.

    (3) The period specified in the notification must not exceed 18 months from the date of the notification.

    (4) Within the period specified in the notification—

    (a) the local housing authority may not revoke the licence for a breach (or repeated breach) of any condition of the licence specified in the notification,

    (b) the licence holder does not commit an offence under section 72(3) in respect of any failure to comply with such a condition, and

    (c) the local housing authority may not impose a financial penalty under section 249A on the licence holder in respect of such a failure.

    (5) Sub-paragraphs (2) to (4) do not apply if, before the licence was granted, the licence holder was convicted of an offence under section 72(2) or (3) in relation to the HMO.

    Additional conditions to be included in licences under Part 2: household waste

    1C. Where the HMO is in England, a licence under Part 2 must include conditions requiring the licence holder to comply with any scheme which is provided by the local housing authority to the licence holder and which relates to the storage and disposal of household waste at the HMO pending collection.”

    Signed by authority of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

    23rd May 2018

    Nigel Adams

    Parliamentary Under Secretary of State 

    Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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