Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

National minimum room sizes for HMOs

Since 1st October 2018, a national minimum room size standard has applied to all newly issued HMO licences, including renewals of existing licences.

The minimum sizes are as follows:

One occupant under the age of 10 4.64 m2
One occupant 10 years or over 6.51 m2
Two occupants 10.21m2

We are not able to deviate from this national minimum room size although in some circumstances it may be possible to count a built-in wardrobe constructed outside, but accessed from within the room as part of the room area. Wardrobes and cupboards located in communal areas or within other rooms are not allowable as adjuncts to permit smaller room sizes to be allowed.

Measurement of room sizes only takes into account “usable space”. Narrow lobbies leading to room entrance doors do not qualify as usable space, but bay windows with floor level with the rest of the room are counted. Chimney breasts and similar obstructions and space taken up by en-suites or shower units and kitchenettes are not included in measurement of the floor area.

Where a room between 4.64 m2 and 6.51 m2 is permitted to be occupied by a child under 10, strict conditions will be applied to protect the safeguarding of any child who may occupy the room. This means that the child’s parent or guardian will have to be occupant of an immediately adjoining room. All fire precaution measures will apply and this may prevent a child under ten occupying a room alone.

Where this means that a previously licensed room can no longer be occupied, we will consider allowing the room to remain in use for a limited period to avoid making existing tenants immediately homeless. Such arrangements will normally extend only to the end of an existing fixed term (non-periodic) tenancy agreement and will never exceed 18 months.

The same criteria have been absorbed into our HMO standards and are currently being applied to HMO licence renewals and new applications made prior to the implementation of the national standards on 1st October.

In many cases it is possible, at minimal cost, to make changes to HMO layouts or to re-arrange rooms and facilities in order to increase the effective floor area of sub-standard rooms. If you believe your HMO will be affected by these changes please contact us well in advance of your renewal date or first application for a licence.

For further advice contact Private Sector Housing by e-mail to or phone: 01604 838585.