Landlords have welcomed new guidance for councils on room sizes in rented homes. The guidance addresses concerns previously voiced by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) that the recent changes to room size regulations could have led to landlords being in breach of the law where a pregnant tenant gave birth.
Since October this year, rooms used for sleeping by one person over 10-years-old have had to be at least 6.51sqm, and those slept in by two people over 10-years-old will have had to at least 10.22sqm. Rooms slept in by children of 10 years and younger have had to be at least 4.64sqm.
Whilst the RLA believes that tenants should never face the dangers of overcrowded accommodation, it was concerned that the changes could mean that councils were required to start legal action against landlords if a tenant gave birth, and as a result there were two people in a room sized for one. A landlord who sought to evict in this scenario would be carrying out unlawful discrimination.
Following extensive discussions with the Government, newly published guidance makes clear that this will not happen. It notes that in instances where a tenant has given birth to a child since moving into a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO), that there is an expectation that local authorities will not be acting in the public interest if they commence a prosecution.