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The legal definition of 'overcrowding' is when there are not enough rooms or space int the home for the number of people who live there.

If your accommodation is much too small for your household you may be considered to be living in overcrowded conditions under the law. Your home may be legally overcrowded if there are not enough rooms or space for the number of people who live there.

A number of factors determine whether you are overcrowded such as:

  • the number of people per room and the occupant type, for example, two people of the opposite sex who are not a couple or a child under ten as an additional occupant would be overcrowded.
  • The amount of space in each room. Living rooms, bedrooms and large kitchens are counted.

As a general rule:

1 room = 2 people

2 rooms = 3 people

3 rooms = 5 people

4 rooms = 7.5 people

5 or more rooms = 2 people per room.

But the floor area of a room also determines how many people can sleep in it:

Overcrowding is only allowed if it is:

  • due to natural growth (such as a child reaching one of the specified ages (see above)
  • temporary (eg if someone comes to live in your home for a short time)
  • licensed overcrowding, where the council has given permission.

If you are overcrowded you can apply for a transfer from your property to another. You will need to complete an application form and bid for a property on Locata. As there is a severe shortage of housing - particularly larger properties - how quickly you receive an offer for a property will depend on a number of factors, including availability and the priority you have.

Your other option is a mutual exchange. This involves swapping with another tenant to solve your own housing requirements and can be quicker than applying for a transfer.