Standards for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

3. Space standards and occupancy levels

3.1 Number of occupants

For the purposes of determining the maximum permitted numbers of occupants for an HMO, the council will have regard to:

  • the number of bedrooms in the HMO and the sizes of the rooms
  • the number of bathrooms and toilets
  • the number of kitchens and the type of food preparation facilities
  • the occupancy standards adopted in its Housing Allocations Policy

In no case should the statutory overcrowding standard be breached.

3.2 Minimum room sizes


As a guide, bedrooms should meet the following minimum sizes:

Occupiers Rooms with separate kitchen facilities Rooms including kitchen facilities

1 person

8 square metres

11 square metres

2 people

13 square metres

16 square metres

Any floor area where the ceiling height is less than 1.5m high shall be disregarded when calculating room size.

Smaller bedroom sizes may be permitted where a communal living room or kitchen with a dining area exists. The reduction in acceptable size will depend upon the size, layout and nature of the additional space available, standards of management and other health and safety considerations.

In no case can rooms below the statutory minimum sizes be used as sleeping accommodation.

The statutory minimum standard for bedroom sizes are as follows:

  • 1 child under the age of 10 = 4.64 sq m
  • 1 person aged 10 or over = 6.51 sq m,
  • 2 persons aged 10 or over = 10.22 sq m.

Bedrooms should not normally be shared by persons who are not co-habiting or married couples or members of the same family.

Other shared rooms

Kitchen Living room

Used by up to 5 persons

8.5 square metres

11 square metres

Used by 6 to 10 persons

12.5 square metres

15 square metres

The kitchen sizes are minimum standards based on optimum shape and layout. In practice, it may be necessary to have a larger room to ensure that there is sufficient space to fit in all the facilities required and provide a circulation area, which permits safe use of the kitchen for the number of users.

3.3 Dormitory accommodation

Dormitory accommodation means a room or rooms that is/are being used by two or more people who are not living as co-habitees.

Sleeping areas
Occupiers Area of each room

1 person

6.5 square metres

2 persons

11 square metres

And for each additional person, a further 3.7 square metres, exclusive of any area devoted to storage.

This standard shall not be relaxed where bunk beds are in use. Bunk beds shall not be used where the floor to ceiling height does not exceed 3 metres.

Sleeping accommodation for men and women shall be separate.

Common rooms

Common rooms must be provided. For rooms serving up to 5 persons sharing, the minimum size should be in accordance with the standards for living rooms and dining rooms set out above. For rooms serving more than 6 people, the minimum room size will be 11 meters squared with an additional 1 meter squared per person for every additional person residing at the property.

Cooking facilities

Cooking facilities within dormitory accommodation will not be permitted. Facilities must meet the requirements set out in Section 4 Kitchen facilities.

3.4 General

A staircase, landing or any room, which has been appointed as a kitchen or bathroom, shall not be used as sleeping accommodation.

All habitable rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and water closet compartments shall have a minimum floor to ceiling height of 2140mm. Any floor area with less than 1500mm ceiling height shall be disregarded when calculating room size.