What defines a 'living' room
03/05/2012 6:40 pm
I am in a two bedroomed house which has a separate lounge downstairs, plus a dining room, which you have to go through in order to access the kitchen, ie there is no other way to access the kitchen other than through the dinining room so that it has one door in and one door out.
I am trying to organise a mutual exchange with a couple who are currently in a one bedroomed bungalow.
Under our Local Council's rules people seeking a mutual exhange may exchange into a property that is one room above their needs. So a couple may occupy a two bedroomed house.
However, I believe the Council are about to refuse us the swap because they are going to class the dining room as another room above the needs, of the couple wishing to move in here.
So my question is what defines a living room. Does it need to be self contained, ie, one door in, or can it be a through room such as my dining room?
Any advice, or pointing to any points of law under the Housing Act or similar would be gratefully received.
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04/05/2012 11:07 am
Can anyone give me any clues on this matter please?
09/05/2012 1:53 pm
it is not "living" room but "habitable" rooms that matter.
the living room in your property could be used as a third bedroom, the "dining" room as a "living" room, therefore your house could be classified as a 3 bed, therefore the council may refuse the transfer.
it doesnt really matter what you have designated the rooms use to be, it is determined by habitable - this means if the room is self contained i.e. not leading to the kitchen - it can be used as a bedroom for allocation purposes.
sorry, dont think thats the news you wanted to hear but hope it clarifies for you.
09/05/2012 1:57 pm
Not what I wanted to hear, thank you, but what I suspect was correct. So in effect my current 'living room' could be reclassified as a bedroom, should the council so decide and my dining room which leads through into the kitchen could be classified as my living room.
We had the survey yesterday so are expecting a decision quite quickly. I have everything crossed, but will not be surprised if it's a negative response.
If my couple wanting to swap in can prove that they need both existing bedrooms due to health issues, would that dining room or living room then be classified as the room above their needs under the Housing Act regulations?
17/05/2012 6:17 pm
The crux of the issue is whether the property is deemed to be "more extensive" than required and the criteria will be contained in the Landlord's own policies and procedures.
In terms of the legislation relating to overcrowding and related definitions of room standards and space standards, this is contained in the Housing Act 1985 Part X - "Definition of Overcrowding". S 326 refers to space standards and states that " a room is available as sleeping accommodation if it is of a type normally used in the locality either as a living room or as a bedroom". However, this is not linked to the legislation in respect of Mutual Exchanges.
In the Housing Act 1985 the grounds for refusal of a mutual exchange are contained in Schedule 3. The relevant ground in this instance relates to Ground 3. This states that refusal can be made where the property size is substantially larger than one of the exchange partners needs. The guideline states that the existence of one spare room would not make the property "more extensive" than required and it seems to be the practice of most landlords to allow an extra bedroom for this.Some tenancies, however, offer a contractual right to a mutual exchange and therefore additional refusal reasons can be relied upon.
It is best to check the tenancy conditions and with the individual landlord concerned as to what their policy states in relation to this. Tenants may not exchange without the permission of their landlord but the landlord must give their decision in writing within 42 days of a request to exchange and provide details of any reasons for refusal.
I would advise the customer to check the Landlord's Policy with regard to their criteria. It might be that they include the existence of two downstairs rooms in their definition of the additional room allowance.
05/06/2012 2:58 pm
I do not believe that the dining room will count. In the context of a mutual exchange, I think the council will confine itself to the actual number of rooms. So what you have at the moment is a 2 bedroom property. When considering the question of overcrowding in the context of homelessness applications, councils are allowed to take into account the total room space. I do not believe that is relevant here. You are giving up a two bedroom property. That really is what matters for the purpose of this mutual exchange.
05/06/2012 7:02 pm
Abimola thank you for that input.
I am thrilled to report that my local Council agreed my swap and my prospective swapee and I have agreed on a mutually convenient date and are awaiting the council to contact us to sign the necessary paperwork.
Thanks to everyone who replied at helped ease my worries at this stressful time though.