The law states that it is illegal for a home to be overcrowded. We could therefore seek possession of your home if too many people are living there. In these cases help with finding suitable housing may be provided by your local council.
Legal definition of overcrowding
There are two ways to calculate if you are overcrowded under housing law. One is by the number of rooms for people to sleep in. This is called the ‘room standard’. The other is by the amount of space in the home and the number of people living in it. This is called the ‘space standard’.
Statutory overcrowding is when there are too many people living in your home using either of these calculations.
How to calculate statutory overcrowding: number of rooms
Your home should have a separate room to sleep in for each:
- single adult aged 21 or older
- two people of the opposite sex aged 10 or over
The room standard says your home is legally overcrowded if it doesn't have this.
Children under 10 years old are not counted.
Your bedrooms and any living rooms are counted as rooms you can sleep in. It doesn't matter which rooms you actually sleep in.
Under the room standard, a couple with a boy and a girl aged under the age of 10 in a one bedroom flat are not overcrowded.
How to calculate statutory overcrowding: amount of space
Under the space standard, the number of people in your home is compared with both the number of rooms and the floor area.
There are two separate calculations for working out if you're overcrowded. The first looks at the number of rooms you have. The second looks at the floor area in your home. The answer to each calculation gives the number of rooms that are sufficient for you and your family.
If the numbers are different, the lower number is used. Your home is legally overcrowded if the number of people living there exceeds this number.
To count the number of people:
- Do not include children under 1 year old
- Children aged 1 to 9 years count as a half
- Anyone aged 10 or over counts as one person
To count the number of rooms, include bedrooms and living rooms but do not include any rooms under 50 square feet.
Number of rooms
The number of rooms considered enough for your family is:
- One room for two people
- Two rooms for three people
- Three rooms for five people
- Four rooms for 7.5 people
- Five or more rooms for two people per room
The minimum floor area considered enough for your family is:
- 50 - 69 square feet (4.6 - 6.5 square metres) for 0.5 people
- 70 - 89 square feet (6.5 - 8.4 square metres) for one person
- 90 - 109 square feet (8.4 -10 square metres) for 1.5 people
- 110 square feet (10.2 square metres) for two people
Further information regarding overcrowding can be obtained from us or the council.