Find out what you can do if you're living in overcrowded conditions and who qualifies as legally overcrowded.

Your home may be legally overcrowded if there are not enough rooms or space for the number of people who live there.

Many people who contact us find that they are not legally overcrowded even though their living conditions are very cramped.

Contact us if you think you may be living in an overcrowded property.

Report overcrowding in your home

Changes due to coronavirus

During the current coronavirus pandemic we are operating a reduced service and will only be visiting properties where there is an imminent risk to health or safety, i.e. where the risk posed by the issues is greater than the potential for spreading coronavirus.

Examples include:

  • Sewage in someone’s home
  • Structural collapse
  • Falling building elements, e.g. glass, failing walls, etc.
  • Pests that can spread disease
  • Imminent risk of fire
  • Electrocution
  • Carbon Monoxide leaks

In all other cases officers will try and assist you using phone and email. Officers may also need to be redeployed to help deal with the response to Covid-19. This means it will take longer to deal with your request than usual. Thank you for your patience.

How many people can occupy a room?

Under housing law, there are two ways to calculate if your home is overcrowded.

One way is by the number of rooms for people to sleep in. This is called the room standard.

The other way is by the amount of space in the home and the number of people living in it. This is called the space standard.

Statutory overcrowding is when there are too many people living in your home using either of the calculations.

Room standard

Number of Rooms Number of Persons allowed
1 2
2 3
3 5
4 7.5
5 or more 2 per extra room

This standard does not include children under 10.

Space standard

Square meters floor area (square feet) Number of Persons allowed
10.2 square metres (110 square feet) 2
8.4 - 10.1 square metres (90 to 119 square feet) 1.5
6.5 - 8.3 square metres (70 to 89 square feet) 1
4.6 - 6.4 square metres (50 to 69 square feet) 0.5

The floor area should be measured per room and the total of occupiers totalled for the whole dwelling.

Persons counted as follows:

  • babies under 1 equal 0 persons
  • children 1 to 10 years equal ½ person
  • over 10 years equals 1 person

Can anyone share a room?

No two people, over 10 years old, of opposite sex should have to sleep in the same room (unless living as a couple).

This does not allow for couples to have a room to themselves - the standard would not be breached if a mother slept in the same room as her daughter and the father with his son.

Where can I find other accommodation?

Private tenants

As a private tenant it is unlikely that you can make your home larger so you may have to consider other housing options.

We would be happy to help you if you need assistance so call us on 020 7926 4200 and speak to one of our advisors.

Council and housing association tenants

If you're a council tenant you can apply to join the housing transfer waiting list to move to another council property.

You may have to wait a long time for somewhere suitable, especially if you need a large property.

Housing associations will have their own transfer waiting lists.

You may be able to find somewhere more quickly if you swap your home with someone else. This is open to both council and housing association tenants.