Overcrowded homes


We use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System to make an assessment of the risks posed to individuals living in a property where there are issues surrounding crowding and space.

We also use figures set in law to determine the maximum number of people who can occupy a dwelling based on the size and number of rooms, and the age, sex and relationship of the people living there. The number of people, room sizes and the facilities provided are also considered in determining the numbers of people who can live in houses in multiple occupation.

If you are affected by any of these issues or suspect a house near you is overcrowded, you should contact your local housing enforcement officer by contacting customer services.

Room standards

When two people of opposite sexes who are not cohabiting have to share a room a contravention has taken place,

  • in single occupancies - children under 10
  • in HMOs - children under 12 (Housing Act 1985 Sec 360)
  • in lodging houses - children under 8.

Space standard

When the number of people sleeping in a house exceeds the permitted numbers with regard to the number of rooms and their floor areas available as sleeping accommodation a contravention has taken place. In determining  numbers of people in terms of units, the following applies:

  • child under 1 year - 0 unit
  • 1 year to 10 years - 0.5 unit
  • 10 years and over - 1 unit

A room is available for sleeping if it is of a type normally used in the locality as a living room or bedroom. The permitted numbers are the lesser of either those calculated from table 1 or table 2:

Table 1











5 or more

2 each room

Table 2

Floor area (ftsq)

Floor area (msq)


50 to 70

4.64 to 6.5


70 to 90

6.5 to 8.37


90 to 110

8.37 to 10.2


110 above



Overcrowding assessment

If you think you may be living in overcrowded conditions, you should contact you local housing enforcement officer or complete the attached form. 

We will then assess your case based on what you tell us. In some cases it may be necessary to make a visit to your house. If a visit is made, we will make a full assessment of the property under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, and take the appropriate enforcement action to resolve any defects we find, whether or not they relate directly to overcrowding.

Size: 26KBFile format: pdf