Housing Act 2004 Under this Act, a property will need to be assessed under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System* for the hazard, Crowding and Space. This hazard is associated with lack of space within the dwelling for living, sleeping and normal family/household life. Lack of space and overcrowded conditions can affect mental and physical health. It can cause psychological distress, mental disorders and less ability to concentrate. Crowded conditions are also linked with increased hygiene risks, increased risk of accidents and spread of contagious diseases.
Factors within the property that may need to be considered will include:
x The availability of an adequately sized living area,
x The availability of an adequately sized kitchen area,
x The availability of an adequately sized and located personal washing area, and sanitary accommodation,
x The number of bedrooms available and whether they are adequately sized for each household or potential household.
Standards Applicable to Houses in Multiple Occupation
As well as the provision of amenities, the sizes of the habitable rooms, i.e. living rooms and bedrooms, within the house will determine the total number of persons that can occupy the house. For houses in multiple occupation that fall under mandatory licensing, the following minimum standards will apply to determine the number of occupants permitted in each letting. These standards may also be applied as a guide to houses in multiple occupation which do not require licensing.
The space standards apply to habitable rooms, which for the purposes of these standards are bedrooms and living rooms. Kitchens, bathrooms and hallways are not classed as habitable rooms for the purpose of applying the standards. The floor area for a shared kitchen shall be not less than 7.0 square metres and not more than two floors distant from any user. When determining room sizes, the useable space will be considered. There may be situations where a room meets the minimum size but is not suitable due to its shape or ceiling height. Compliance with the space standards does not mean that planning permission will be granted, other factors and planning guidance are also considered when determining a planning application.
Where the cooking facilities are provided in a separate room, each bedroom must be minimum:
x 6.5 square metres if occupied by one person;
x 10.5 square metres if occupied by two persons
For rooms with cooking facilities within the room, the following minimum room sizes shall apply:
x 10.5 square metres (if occupied by one person)
x 14.5 square metres (if occupied by two people) Room sizes for bedrooms to be used to house more than two occupants will be determined on a case-bycase basis.