The British Government has today announced it is to introduce minimum room sizes for shared tenant homes. This is part of a wider national clamp down on rogue landlords forcing tenants into unsafe and overcrowded properties.
Housing Minister Gavin Barwell said that the measures will affect England only and will heighten councils’ ability to solve the issue. This in turn will bring an end to rogue landlords ‘ability to exploit tenants and charge them high rents for poor conditions.
Plans outlined today will see landlords letting properties to five or more people from two or more households would have to be licenced. In addition, they would have to provide a room of a minimum size of 6.52 square metres, thus closing a loophole allowing some rogues to rent rooms much too small for an adult.
Mr Barwell said: ‘These measures will give councils the powers they need to tackle poor quality rental homes in their area. By driving out rogue landlords that flout the rules out of business, we are raising standards and giving tenants the protection they need.’
Other measures to help councils raise standards in multiple occupancy lets include ensuring mandatory rules apply to all shared properties with five or more people from two or more households. Additionally, this would apply to flats above and below shops and other business premises.
At present, licensing only comes into force for homes with three or more floors and does not apply to homes attached to businesses unless they are in a three-story property.
Landlords facing minimum room size licensing scheme
Under these proposals, landlords of shared properties will be permitted to provide sufficient storage and disposal of rubbish and pass a fit a proper person test. Criminal record checks will be carried out.
If a landlord fails to obtain a licence they will be liable to pay an unlimited fine. Mr Barwell believes these measures will complement other Government efforts to seek out unscrupulous landlords.
Already, £5m of Government funding to 48 councils has brought about a big increase in the number of homes checked in the last quarter. In early 2016, in excess of 33,000 homes were inspected. Around 2,800 rogues are facing prosecuting as a result of these checks.