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Landlord fails in attempt to rent out bedrooms below national minimum size

An HMO landlord’s attempt to rent out bedrooms smaller than the national minimum size has been thwarted after his legal case was dismissed. 

Since October last year, regulations have been in place bringing mandatory licensing to all HMOs in order to better protect tenants from poor living conditions.

Under the rules, rooms used for sleeping by one person over 10-years-old have had to be at least 6.51sqm, and those slept in by two people over 10-years-old will have had to at least 10.22sqm. Rooms slept in by children of 10 years and younger have had to be at least 4.64sqm. 


The guidance can be accessed by clicking here.

But the owner of a HMO property in Brighton property appealed to the courts when the council told the landlord their rooms fell below the bedroom size of 6.51sqm for one person.

The landlord attempted to overturn the ruling legally, but the judge has dismissed the appeal, finding in the council’s favour. 

Cllr John Allcock, chairman of the city council’s housing committee, commented: “I’m really pleased that the tribunal has upheld the conditions.

"Everyone has the right to a decent standard of housing and this decision confirms that the minimum room size really is the minimum people should be living in.”

The rooms in the Brighton property will now need to be enlarged or re-arranged.

Cllr Allcock added: “We are committed to working alongside our Green Party colleagues on a range of measures to further drive up conditions and standards in private rented accommodation for residents in our city.”


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  • icon

    So there will be a boom in big cardboard boxes over 6.11 sq metres as the smaller rooms are deemed uninhabitable. Another loony idea to remove the availability of otherwise perfectly good rooms for occupation by those who can't afford anything better.

  • John Cart

    Unfortunately, the idiot councillor who has no knowledge of letting property what so ever, fails to realise that the smallest rooms are always the easiest to let, the cheapest and the ones that tenants stay longest. Never mind that the room is now unlettable and the landlord will put the rent up for the remainder of tenants in the place. We use "too small" rooms as extra storage for the other tenants and increase their rents accordingly, we're actually better off that way. But never mind there is one extra person now looking for scarce accommodation eh!!!

  • icon
    • 09 September 2019 13:53 PM

    Of course a room below HMO size limits can always be used for a 'guest'.
    Now obviously no guest can have any connections with the rental property.
    There are limitations as to the period that a 'guest' can occupy.
    Unless a Council surveillance officer is sat outside a property 365 days a year there is no way that the period a guest occupied can ever be determined.
    Now it is completely up to the guest that they might wish to make a contribution to the tenants in the property which might equal the rent that a tenant would have paid for the room.
    Obviously a guest has no security of tenure.
    The address could not be used for any official purposes like registration for doctors and dentists etc.
    But if a 'guest' can manage things that way then as a guest they could manage their domestic circumstances.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    might work for as long as the 'Guest' is willing to play 'ball' but when they get the idea that they can fall behind in the rent and use that to Blackmail the Landlord.
    Especially if he lets onto his pals that they could all claim the last 12 months rent under a Rent Repayment Order. ( After they've given evidence to the Local Authority who duly prosecute the Landlord )
    Mmm, not such a good idea after all.

    • 10 September 2019 23:16 PM

    That is why I wouldn't have 5 occupiers ever.
    A 'guest' is a legal entity and no could RRO ever work.
    There are so many negatives to having 5 occupiers since the new Mandatory HMO Licensing I would never take on 5 occupiers.
    This means 5 bed houses will reduce in value.
    Only homeowners will want them.
    However if a property has 5 beds unless the LL licks the 5th bedroom door it will be difficult to prevent it being used as a bedroom.
    Guest use would be fine.
    But the tenants would be tempted to have a permanent guest to reduce their monthly rent rent.
    LL with 5 bed properties face a dilemma!


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