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

How many people can occupy a room?

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

  1. By the number of rooms for people to sleep in. This is called the room standard.
  2. 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

No of rooms No of people allowed
1 2
2 3
3 5
4 7.5
5+ 2 per extra room

This standard does not include children under 10.

Space standard

Floor area No of people allowed
10.2 square metres (110 square feet) 2
8.4-10.1 square metres (90-19 square feet) 1.5
6.5-8.3 square metres (70-89 square feet) 1
4.6-6.4 square metres (50-69 square feet) 0.5

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

People counted are as follows:

  • Baby under 1 equals 0 people
  • Child 1 to 10 years equals ½ a person
  • Aged over 10 years equals 1 person.

Can anyone share a room?

Anyone over the age of 10 should not have to share a room with someone of the opposite sex, unless they are a couple.

However, mothers can share with a daughter or fathers with a 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 and speak to one of our advisers.

Council and housing association tenants

If you're a council tenant you can apply to join the housing transfer waiting list. This will enable you 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.