Experienced landlords know that there are strict regulations regarding rental properties and the standard of accommodation provided. These UK laws are designed to ensure that rental properties meet minimum standards and so are fit for habitation by tenants. In particular, they aim to safeguard tenants by tackling the problem of rogue landlords, who are a small minority, but who do not ensure their rental property meets these basic requirements.
In 2019, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act was introduced – it’s an extension of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and it aims to ensure minimum standards for human habitation at the start of and throughout a tenancy. It also gives tenants the power to take legal action against landlords they believe are not acting responsibly.
One of its key points relates to overcrowding and therefore potentially dangerous living conditions of tenants in a rental property, particularly Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
This government legislation aims to ensure that tenants have the space they need and it reduces the health and safety risks created by too many people sharing cooking and washing facilities. It also aims to help prevent too much rubbish piling up at a property which is overcrowded, potentially presenting health risks and having a detrimental effect on the local neighbourhood.
There are large fines for rogue landlords whose properties do not meet these minimum standards and those who don’t comply with the regulations on overcrowding can face fines of up to £30,000.
If you’re not sure if your rental property is overcrowded, there are guidelines to help you assess the property.
More info at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018/guide-for-landlords-homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018
This relates to the number and sex of people sleeping in the same room. This doesn’t just apply to bedrooms but also to living rooms, dining rooms or studies – any room you can sleep in.
A home is considered to be overcrowded if two people of the opposite sex have to sleep in the same room – unless of course they are a couple or if they are children under the age of 10.
The ‘space standard’ is a way of calculating how much space is required by tenants, either by counting the number of rooms they have or the floor space of each room.
If you calculate by counting the number of rooms in your property, these are the guidelines for how many people can sleep in each room:
1 room = 2 people maximum
2 rooms – 3 people maximum
3 rooms = 5 people maximum
4 rooms = 7.5 people maximum
5 rooms = 10 people maximum
Anyone aged 10 or over = one person.
Children aged 1 – 9 count as 0.5 person
Children aged under one do not count
If you calculate by measuring the size of each room, these are the minimum requirements.
Rooms used for sleeping by one person aged over 10 must be no smaller than 6.51 square metres.
Rooms used for sleeping by two people aged over 10 must be no smaller than 10.22 square metres.
Rooms slept in by children of 10 years and younger must be no smaller than 4.64 square metres.
Landlords are also responsible for ensuring that there are adequate rubbish bins for the rental property. If waste accumulates because of lack of adequate storage, they could face a fine.
If you’re unsure about the government legislation for a London rental property, make sure you instruct a letting agent who is well versed with current regulations. We support our Property Management clients and advise on all aspects of managing their London property, ensuring that they comply with all current and impending legislation. If you are interested in our property management service, get in touch.
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