RLA objects to minimum room size impact assessment

by Gary Whittaker

The Residential Landlords' Association (RLA) has criticised the government's impact assessment into plans to introduce minimum room sizes, claiming it is "fundamentally flawed". 

Ministers want to introduce a new minimum bedroom size for all licensed homes of multiple occupancy, with this set to be enforced from October. The rules will restrict the number who can sleep in each room in a bid to prevent overcrowding. 

Peers have now approved the new regulations, helping ease the passage of the new rules through parliament. However, the RLA argues that the decisions have been based on inaccurate data and that the actual impact on tenants, landlords and the sector as a whole has not been properly considered. 

A key point noted by the RLA concerns rooms of less than 6.5 sq m (70 sq ft) in area, which the impact assessment stated is already unlawful. The RLA said this is based on a misinterpretation of the house size rules contained in the Housing Act 1985, which are based on a ratio of house sizes to occupants that would enable a room size of less than 6.5 sq m to be offset by other rooms in the house, such as a large living room. 

Furthermore, it said two housing tribunal cases on the subject - Clark v Manchester City Council and Crompton v Oxford City Council - were incorrectly referred to in the assessment.

The RLA stated: "Neither Clark or Crompton are cases which suggest that a council is any way obliged to routinely accept rooms of less than 6.5 sq m, or indeed of any specific size.

"They are both cases which make clear that councils must use their discretion to assess properties in a holistic manner rather than a narrow focus on one issue."

Having objected to the assessment, the RLA has said that unless these points are heeded by the government and the plans reconsidered it would be prepared to go down the route of a judicial review. 
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16-May-18General Lettings News