Overcrowded homes


We use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System to make an assessment of the risks posed to people 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 property 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 us.

Room standards

Two people of opposite sex who are not cohabiting are not allowed to share a room.

There are some exemptions to this rule:

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

Space standard

The number of people allowed to sleep in a house depends on the number of rooms and the floor space available as sleeping accommodation. 

When deciding the number of people, the following applies:

  • child under 1 year = 0 person
  • 1 year to 10 years = 0.5 person
  • 10 years and over = 1 person 

A room is available for sleeping if it is the type normally used as a living room or bedroom.

The permitted number of people is the least from either table 1 or table 2:

Table 1 - rooms

Table 1 - Rooms

Rooms for sleeping










5 or more

2 each room

Table 2 - floor area

Table 2 - floor area

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.

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