A court ruling on what constitutes a bedroom could have implications for estate and letting agents nervous about how they describe the number of bedrooms in a property.
It’s tiny: so is it a bedroom or would you be safer calling it a boxroom?
Essentially, says a new ruling, if you can get a single bed into a room it counts as a bedroom, not a boxroom – regardless of size.
The Government, in the form of the Department for Work and Pensions, had appealed against an earlier decision when a court ruled that a room measuring less than 50 sq ft is not a bedroom.
The judge, Simon Collins, also ruled that a room measuring between 50 and 70 sq ft could only be used by a child aged under ten.
That ruling was entirely in line with the 1936 Public Health Act: no room less than 50 sq ft (4.65 square metres) was allowable as a bedroom, and any room between 50 and 70 sq ft was a “half-person” bedroom. This space standard is in the Housing Act 1985, s.326 and in the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, s.137.
So you might think that the law was the law.
However, the DWP seems to have mounted a successful challenge in a case revolving around the so-called “bedroom tax”.
The social housing tenant said that he should not have to suffer a 14% cut in housing benefit because the room in question was so small.
He said it measured 66 sq ft and was therefore a boxroom and not a bedroom.
The latest ruling, however, goes in favour of the DWP, which said it has always maintained that if a room is big enough to accommodate a single bed, it is a bedroom.
However, this may not be the end of the matter, as another appeal is said to be likely.
Written by: ROSALIND RENSHAW