Court of Appeal Rules on Minimum Room Size

The Court of Appeal in London has ruled in favour of a Nottingham landlord wanting to rent out two small attic rooms to students.

Dominic Parr was barred by Nottingham City Council from renting out two attic rooms in separate houses, which were deemed by the council to have less space than the minimum 86 square feet, once the sloping roofs were taken into account.

The council banned the use of one of the rooms as a bedroom, and said that the other room could only be let along with another room.

However, the decision was last year overturned by Judge Martin Rodger QC, who ruled that students may be prepared to accept less space than other people because they are more used to communal living.

Lawyers representing the council argued that the judge’s decision was wrong, as it was based on a mistaken perception of how students behave in shared accommodation. The council therefore took the case to the Court of Appeal for a final ruling.

Andrew Arden QC, for the council, argued there could be no guarantee students would share communal spaces.

He said: ‘The concept of ‘cohesive living’ is too vague to ensure a sharing of communal facilities. Respectfully, the tribunal appears to have proceeded on the basis of a generalised – populist – perception of how students behave in a shared house.

He continued: ‘Even if there is a communal living room, this does not mean that the occupier of a particular room will use it, or want to use it, or feel comfortable in it.

“It is as likely that a student, wishing to study, would spend as much time as possible somewhere separate within the house

However, the council’s appeal has now been rejected by three of the country’s most senior judges, Lords Justice Longmore, Lewison and Briggs.following the hearing at the Court of Appeal, in London.

The three Court of Appeal judges will give reasons for their decision at a later date.

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