It can be very stressful living in accommodation which is overcrowded.

There are many households across the town which have a lot of people living in them. Unless the overcrowding exceeds the government’s standards, or you have other housing needs, you are unlikely to be accepted on to the Housing Register. 

To check if your accommodation is overcrowded, NPH follows the same room standards and space standards defined by the Government's 1985 Housing Act.

If your household exceeds either the room standard or the space standard then you are likely to be overcrowded by law (statutory overcrowded).

How to check for overcrowding

If you think you are overcrowded:

1.     Calculate the number of rooms

All bedrooms and living rooms are counted as rooms you can sleep in. It does not matter which rooms you actually sleep in.

Your home should have a separate room to sleep in for each:

  • couple
  • single adult 21 or older
  •  two people of the opposite sex aged 10 or over

The government’s room standard says your home is legally overcrowded if it does not have this. 

Children under 10 years are not counted.

Under the room standard, a couple with a boy and a girl aged under the age of 10 in a one bedroom flat are not overcrowded.

2.     Calculate the amount of space

This calculation gives the number of rooms that are enough for you and your family.

There are two ways you can work this calculation out:

  • look at the number of rooms you have
  • look at the floor area in your home.

The answer to each calculation will give you the number of rooms that are sufficient for you and your family.

If the answer is different for each, the lower number is used.

To count the number of people:

  • don't include children under 1 year old
  • children aged 1 to 9 years count as a half
  • anyone aged 10 or over counts as one person

Count the number of rooms:

  • include bedrooms and living rooms but don't include any rooms under 50 square feet.


Number of rooms

The number of rooms considered enough for your family is:

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

Floor area

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