My property is too small

Is your property overcrowded?

Housing law sets out two tests for overcrowding.  These are the room standard and the space standard.  If your household exceeds either of these standards then you are overcrowded.

Room standard

Your home is overcrowded if two people of the opposite sex who are not living as a couple have to share a room.  Children under 10 are not counted for this calculation.  All bedrooms and living rooms are counted even if they are not actually used to sleep in.

Space standard

This standard compares the number of people in your home to the number of rooms and the space you have to live in.

First calculate the number of people in your household.  For this purpose:

  • Do not count children under 1.
  • Children over 1 and under 10 count as a half a person.


A family with two adults, a 12 year old, a 7 year old and 6 month old baby count as 3.5 people.  3 x people over 10 = 3

1 person between 1 and 10 = 0.5

A child under 1 = 0

3 + 0.5 + 0 = 3.5 people

You will also need to calculate the number of rooms.  For this purpose:

  • Include all bedrooms and livings rooms
  • Do not count any room under 50 square feet.

The number of rooms required for household size based upon the above calculation is:

  • 1 room for 2 people
  • 2 rooms for 3 people
  • 3 rooms for 5 people
  • 4 rooms  for 7.5 people
  • 5 rooms or more for 2 people per room


The family above have 3.5 people based upon the calculation.  This means that they need 3 rooms.

The space standard also considers the size of the rooms.  This is states how many people can sleep in a room based upon its size.

The minimum floor area considered enough for your family is:

  • 50 - 69 square feet (4.6 - 6.4 square metres) for 0.5 people
  • 70 - 89 square feet (6.5 - 8.3 square metres) for 1 person
  • 90 - 109 square feet (8.4 -10.1 square metres) for 1.5 people
  • 110 square feet (10.2 square metres) for 2 people

If your household does not have enough space based upon either of these standards then you are likely to be overcrowded as defined by the law.

If your rented accommodation is not a suitable size it is unlikely that your landlord will make the significant changes required so you may need to consider moving; however, there are a large number of households in the city who live in overcrowded homes so unless the overcrowding is significant or you have other housing needs you are unlikely to secure a social housing property.  When looking for alternative accommodation you need to consider affordability, particularly if you are moving to a larger property.