LEGAL EAGLE: End of shoebox-sized rooms?

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With a number of recent changes in housing law, including landlords having to complete extra checks on tenants, which no doubt costs them extra time and money, landlords have thought of a number of ways of maximising their profits from renting out their properties. One of the methods taken by some landlords is to squeeze in an extra tenant into a shared property by renting a minute sized room, which fits little more than a single bed. Some landlords have even divided one bedroom into two, and charged two people the same amount of rent!

Currently the law does specify a minimum size, although a recent case ruled that the current law is only guidance, and not a legal requirement.

Under new plans, which will only apply to tenancies in England, it is proposed that each and every bedroom in homes with multiple occupation be a minimum size of 6.52 square meters. Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, said that the idea behind the proposal is help to clamp down on rogue landlords cramming tenants into unsafe and overcrowded homes and therefore improving housing for thousands of tenants in England.

In addition to proposing that there be a minimum bedroom size, the government made a number of other proposals in an attempt to improve the standard of shared homes. The proposals include widening the scope of those who are required to have a licence to rent out their property, for landlords to have a duty to provide reasonable storage and a tightening up the “fit and proper person” test for landlords.

If you are a landlord and think the proposed changes may affect you, it is important that you get legal advice before any changes are introduced.

l David Gray Solicitors have the only top tier team in the area recognised in the Legal 500, the “who’s who of the legal world”, for the work they do for tenants. Their solicitors specialise in housing law and can offer same day and urgent appointments where necessary at all local courts. Call now on 0191 243 8147 or visit the website where you can chat live.