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Statutory overcrowding

Statutory overcrowding is when there are too many people living in your home. It is measured in one of two ways under housing law. 

  • One way is by the number of rooms for people to sleep in - this is called the room standard
  • The other way is by the amount of space in the home and the number of people living in it - this is called the space standard

The Room Standard

This rule considers the number of rooms available in a property for people to sleep in. By law, the Room Standard says your home is legally overcrowded if two people of the opposite sex have to share a room to sleep in. This does not apply when couples share a room.

Children under 10 years old are not counted under the room standard.

Any bedrooms or living rooms are counted as rooms you can sleep in, regardless of if these rooms are used for that purpose.

As an example, under the room standard, a couple with a boy and a girl under the age of ten in a one-bedroom flat with a living room would not be classed as overcrowded.

The Space Standard

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 number of rooms you have
  • The floor area in your home (explained below)

The answer to each gives the number of rooms that's enough 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 is more than this.

How to calculate overcrowding

In order to count the amount of people living in a property, you must first be aware that: 

  • Children under 1 years old do not count
  • Children aged 1 to 9 years count as a half
  • Anyone aged 10 or over counts as one person

Number of rooms

The number of rooms considered enough for your family is:

  • 1 room for 2 people
  • 2 rooms for 3 people
  • 3 rooms for 5 people
  • 4 rooms for 7.5 people
  • 5 or more rooms for 2 people per room

Any rooms under 50 square feet are not classed as a room which can be used to sleep in.

Floor area 

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 1 person
  • 90-109 square feet (8.4 -10.1 square metres) for 1.5 people
  • 110 square feet (10.2 square metres) for 2 people

If two people of the opposite sex have to share a bedroom, the accommodation will be classed as overcrowded if the people in question are NOT a married or co-habiting couple or are children under 10 years old.

Is my home overcrowded? 

If you are found to be statutorily overcrowded, you may be placed in a higher priority band on the Housing Register. If you have any questions or would like to arrange an overcrowding visit, please contact us at:

More information and guidance about overcrowding is available at Shelter.  

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