When is a bedroom not a bedroom?

There is no legal definition of a bedroom but the short answer is if a room has a floor area of less than 50 square feet overcrowding may be an issue.

We have all viewed properties where the 3rd of 4th ‘bedroom’ is not big enough to swing a cat so what are the space standards for bedrooms? Is there any legislation available to guide us on this?

The subject of overcrowding and room and space standards was last covered in statute in the Housing Act 1985.

S326 of the Housing Act 1985 covers the space standard:

1)The space standard is contravened when the number of persons sleeping in a dwelling is in excess of the permitted number, having regard to the number and floor area of the rooms of the dwelling available as sleeping accommodation.

(2)For this purpose—

(a)no account shall be taken of a child under the age of one and a child aged one or over but under ten shall be reckoned as one-half of a unit, and

(b)a room is available as sleeping accommodation if it is of a type normally used in the locality either as a living room or as a bedroom.

(3)The permitted number of persons in relation to a dwelling is whichever is the less of—

(a)the number specified in Table I in relation to the number of rooms in the dwelling available as sleeping accommodation, and

(b)the aggregate for all such rooms in the dwelling of the numbers specified in column 2 of Table II in relation to each room of the floor area specified in column 1

No account shall be taken for the purposes of either Table of a room having a floor area of less than 50 square feet.

Table 1

Number of rooms – Number of persons

1                     2

2                     3

3                     5

4                     7 ½

5 or more      2 for each room

Table II

Floor area of room ~ Number of persons

110 sq. ft. or more ~ 2

90 sq. ft. or more but less than 110 sq. ft ~ 1 ½

70 sq. ft. or more but less than 90 sq. ft. ~ 1

50 sq. ft. or more but less than 70 sq. ft. ~ 1/2



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