There can be few complaints at the Government's new proposal which will require that rooms in shared homes must be at 6.52 square metres.
Landlords will no longer be able to squeeze tenants into rabbit-hutch sized rooms and make them pay an extortionate rent to do so.
This extra protection for tenants is well needed - especially in light of a recent survey conducted by Shelter which indicates that 1 in 10 people considers that their home does not have adequate space (https://england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/39532/Full_house_overcrowding_effects.pdf).
Further, a study done by Cambridge University last year revealed that new homes in England are the smallest in Europe (http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/study-finds-premise-behind-bedroom-tax-is-fundamentally-flawed). This is not necessarily because of the density of our population, as many claim. New homes in Holland, which is more densely populated than the United Kingdom, have on average 30 square metres more space than ours do. It is rogue landlords trying to squeeze as much money out of as little space as possible that are causing this; which is what this proposal is designed to prevent.
In saying this, the Government already has similar powers to prevent overcrowding in shared homes and these are not being enforced in any meaningful way - so whether the proposed measures will have any impact remains to be seen.
The government may, at last, be getting around to banning micro-rooms by instituting a minimum standard for habitable accommodation in houses in multiple occupation in England. Houseshares, to you and me. At 6.52 sq metres, the new standard still only equates to roughly 2 metres by 3 metres. It’s a sad day, though, for the horrific box-room story. The smothering, claustrophobic, low-ceilinged coffin has visited many of us in one way or another down the years, and the retelling of one’s worst space has become, for many city dwellers (especially in the capital), the equivalent of the Four Yorkshiremen. Few can top the literal cupboard under the stairs, but I’ve heard tales of rooms where you have to walk through someone else’s room to get there, like a human matryoshka doll, and plenty of tiddlers with no windows.