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As a private rented tenant, you may be looking at a property to see if it has enough space to live in or you maybe already living in a private rented home.

Overcrowding is where there are too many people living in a home. The government has set a standard on overcrowding which is often lower than people think.

It has 2 parts to it; a room standard and a space standard.

The room standard – This looks at the number and sex of people who have to sleep in the same room. Any room that can be slept in counts, such as living rooms, dining rooms and studies, not just bedrooms.

Your home is overcrowded if:

  • two people of a different sex have to sleep in the same room
  • they are aged 10 or over

The rule doesn't apply to couples who share a room. You don’t count children under 10.

The space standard – This has two ways to work out if your home is overcrowded. First is to count the number of people living there; anyone aged 10 or over counts as 1 person, children aged 1 to 9 count as 0.5 and children under 1 year old don't count at all.

Next, count the number of rooms or measure the floor space of each room. You don't count any room that is; under 50 square feet or 4.6 square metres or is not a bedroom or living room. Then check the tables below to see if your home is overcrowded:

Number of rooms

Number of rooms Max number of people allowed
1 2
2 3
3 5
4 7.5


Floor space of each room

Room's floor space

(in square feet)

Room's floor space

(in square metres)

Max number of people allowed
50 - 69 4.6 - 6.4 0.5
70 - 89 6.5 - 8.3 1
90 - 109 8.4 - 10.1 1.5
110 10.2 2

If you are overcrowded and want to find out your housing options and choices then you can contact the Housing Options Team.

If you are in a private rented home and believe you are overcrowded, discuss this first with your landlord and find out what the options might be. After this, you can report the problem to us and we can follow it up. Fill out a general enquiries form to report it to us.

If you live in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) that has a licence, then the maximum number of tenants allowed to live there will be part of the licence. Not all HMO’s need a licence. You will find more information on the Houses in Multiple Occupation page.