Standards shake-up in war on crowding

Standards on overcrowded housing that have been in place for more than 70 years face a shake-up as the government launches a drive against its worst effects, such as domestic violence.

In a consultation launched last week, the Department for Communities and Local Government said the two standards used today, introduced in 1935 and reinforced in the Housing Act 1985, were “well out of line with contemporary expectations”.

The room standard is breached if two people of opposite sexes who are not living together as husband and wife are forced to sleep in the same room, while the space standard specifies the maximum number of people who may sleep in a home.

However, under these standards a couple with a boy aged 15 and a girl aged 13 living in a one-bedroom flat would not be classed as overcrowded because the father and son could share one room and the mother and daughter could sleep in the living room or even kitchen.

One option being considered by the government is the adoption of the bedroom standard, used in the Survey of English Housing, which allocates a notional number of bedrooms according to household composition.

  • Tackling Overcrowding in England

  • More from Community Care

    Comments are closed.