At my wit's end! Landlord selective licensing property standards - minimum room size

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    At my wit's end! Landlord selective licensing property standards - minimum room size

    I am in the process of buying a BTL flat (non-HMO) and it is in a London borough with (almost) 100% landlord licensing. Their website is not very clear on what is mandatory and what is "recommended" so to speak.

    They have a comprehensive property standards document, which among other things says that a bedroom needs to be minimum 6.5sqm to be considered as one.

    The flat I'm buying is a 2 bed with the smaller bedroom 6.33sqm in area.

    So I emailed the council referring to the 6.33 sqm vs 6.5 sqm, and to the specific section of the property standards document and asked if it was a mandatory minimum (ie I couldnt let it out as a 2 bed flat) or a recommended (good to have) standard.

    Their first response was -

    "This is recommended standards and we would advise it would need to be between 6.5 - 9.5 square metres for at least 1 person to be able to use the room as a bedroom."

    So I replied saying I wasn't any clearer and they responded -

    "Please refer to the attached document Standards for Private Rented Property" Which is basically the exact same document I referred to when asking the question.

    So I asked again and their response is -

    "I can confirm that this is a mandatory requirement, as it is a set government stipulation. If per say, you did not meet the set the conditions in the proposal set less than 10%. We will be able to exercise this to adhere to the set guides in place."

    Could anyone please decipher what they might be trying to say in their last response?

    I asked my conveyancing solicitor if he could ascertain whether it was a mandatory minimum or not but he declined and said they aren't experts on licensing.

    I'm an experienced landlord but only houses and not in this particular borough. The other boroughs have mandatory minimum property standards but only for HMOs. Their selective licensing regimes have much simpler guidance and more helpful licensing departments.

    Will be grateful for any help at all!

    #2
    Presumably you aren't intending to let the rooms individually, so what does it matter?

    Just buy somewhere else if this is a concern to you.

    Comment


      #3
      It matters because if the room sizes are mandatory then the flat is only rentable to a max of 2 adults, and I'll have to advertise it as a 1-bed flat I guess. Typically for the area, I will get young couples with a baby/toddler and it doesn't make sense as an investment if I have to exclude them from my pool of potential clients.

      I am just hoping I can get a clear answer so if I'm walking away I'm not doing it on a misunderstanding.

      Maybe I'll just walk in tomorrow and try to see someone in the licensing team in person!

      Comment


        #4
        That's been the minimum size (70 square feet) of a bedroom for one person over 10 years old since, I believe, the 1920s, so of course it the minimum reasonable size for an adult bedroom. What the overcrowding legislation does, however, allow is notionally sticking people in lounges and dining rooms, or, for some purposes counting two young child sized rooms (50 square feet) towards one adult.

        The overcrowding rules are hardly considered generous, sometimes even allowing people to be treated as sleeping in kitchens.

        Comment


          #5
          Estate agents will happily count bedrooms that don't meet the absolute minimum size of 50 square feet!

          Comment


            #6
            Couples are usually considered to share a bedroom, so there would be no problem with putting a child in the little room.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by JK0 View Post
              Couples are usually considered to share a bedroom, so there would be no problem with putting a child in the little room.
              I think the OP's problem is that that the council are not considering the possibility of having a bedroom that is only for a child under 10, and are basically saying that they will use the statutory overcrowding rules, but based only actual bedrooms and assuming all occupants are 10 years old or over.

              They are basically using the same rules as now apply, nationally, for HMOs, when most HMO occupants are adults whereas that is not true for single family houses.

              I would, though, point out that the 50 square feet minimum for a single young child would probably make Harry Potter's broom cupboard seem spacious, although I've seen two children in a room that is smaller than that.

              Comment


                #8
                In case it isn't obvious, from the above, the strange 6.51 square metres actually arises because the standards were set in 1935, long before metrication. The actual values are (where a child between 1 and 9 is considered half an adult)

                50 square feet: half an equivalent adult
                70 square feet: one equivalent adult
                90 Square feet: one and a half equivalent adults
                110 square feet: two equivalent adults

                Maximum of two equivalent adults in a room.

                For some strange reason builders seem to have a habit of making rooms just under these sizes,rather than just over them. Possibly they cut it too fine when trying to make them as small as possible.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Are you properly considering whether you should buy this thing? I wouldn't - at almost any price.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    From the property standards document -

                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    In assessing space standards all persons occupying the property irrespective of age should be counted.

                    Number of Bedrooms Max. No. of Persons
                    1 bedroom 2 persons
                    2 bedrooms 4 persons

                    Maximum occupiers per room based on floor space
                    9.5 sq m or more 2 persons
                    6.5 to 9.5 sq m 1 person(of any age)
                    Less than 6.5 sq m Zero persons
                    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                    Anyway, this is probably a no go for me. There's no dearth of properties in the market, I'll stick to boroughs that have better licensing departments.

                    It's a lovely flat and maybe destined for an FTB and that's probably what the council want as well.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Listen to Andrew Dodd above, I had a local council freehold. Dealing with them was a living nightmare.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
                        For some strange reason builders seem to have a habit of making rooms just under these sizes,rather than just over them.
                        Does a wardrobe built into a recess count as part of the floor space?
                        My bedroom is 100 square foot with an additional 11 square foot wardrobe , and I was wondering if I have been overcrowded for the past 30 years.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Built in furniture doesn't count toward the floor space, but the floor under a free standing wardrobe does

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by MdeB View Post

                            Does a wardrobe built into a recess count as part of the floor space?
                            My bedroom is 100 square foot with an additional 11 square foot wardrobe , and I was wondering if I have been overcrowded for the past 30 years.
                            That is a good point as when i look around show homes there are no built in wardrobes so the room will obviously be bigger than the same room with some fitted furniture ........ but of course most bedrooms need some storage so the same problem stands, you should really be able to measure wall to wall and ignore any fitted units, seems an odd conflict between two storage units, one fitted and one not ?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              My friend has a double bed in a 6' by 8' room!

                              Comment

                              Latest Activity

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X