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Overcrowding in privately rented homes

If you think you or your family are living in overcrowded conditions, we will try to advise you of the options available to you. We will try and solve these issues and take legal action when needed.

If we find that your property is overcrowded, we'll talk you through how we can help and what options you have.

What you can do if you're living in an overcrowded property

If you are a tenant living in crowded conditions you can consider moving to a more suitably sized property. We can help you with this, alongside your agent or landlord.

If you live in social housing, for example through a Registered Social Landlord (RSL) or Housing Association (HA), your landlord may be able to move you to another property. You should contact your landlord to find out more.

How we investigate complaints

We investigate complaints of overcrowded houses using a standard contained within the Housing Act 1985. The Housing Act standard has changed very little since it was first set out in the 1957 Housing Act.

When we assess overcrowding, we consider:

  • the number of habitable rooms
  • room sizes
  • the gender and age of the occupants

Many people who contact us find that they are not legally overcrowded even though their living conditions are very cramped. You can find out whether your living conditions are overcrowded on Shelter's website.

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