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When overcrowding is permitted

This content applies to England & Wales

Situations where overcrowding will be allowed even if more people live in the house than is acceptable under the standards.

Natural growth

If the standards are breached because a child of the household has reached one of the specified ages (one year or ten years) and the household has not changed in any other way then there will be no offence.[1] The birth of a child will also not count, as children under one will be disregarded. In order for this exception to apply, the occupier must have made an application to the council for alternative accommodation. In addition to this, if there was an opportunity for the occupier to require one of the household to leave and this was not done, an offence would be committed.

Temporary overcrowding

If the reason for overcrowding is that one of the people sleeping in the accommodation is a member of the occupier's family who is there temporarily, there will be no offence.[2] Temporarily is not defined, but a child away at boarding school is considered to be living permanently in the accommodation.

Licensed overcrowding

If the local authority gives permission for the overcrowding, then no offence will be committed.[3] The permission must be applied for by the occupier and not on the landlord or the local authority's initiative. A licence will only be granted in exceptional circumstances, which can include, for example, seasonal increases in population.

[1] s.328 Housing Act 1985.

[2] s.329 Housing Act 1985.

[3] s.330 Housing Act 1985.

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