Tiny bedrooms incorrectly listed, report finds

John Hewitt Jones

August 26, 2016

Half of homes for sale across the UK contain at least one room listed incorrectly, research by Direct Line reveals.

The survey undertaken by the insurer reveals 48% of houses on sale across 10 of the UK’s biggest cities contain bedrooms that are listed incorrectly.

Roughly 36% of single bedrooms are technically too small to be classed as such for anyone aged over the age of 10.

According to the Housing Act 1985 a child under the age of 10 can occupy a room which is less than 50ft2 because they are classed as ‘half a person’, however a single bedroom should have a floor space of between 50ft2 – 70ft3. The Housing Act 1985 references that, to avoid overcrowding, double bedrooms for two people should be at least 110 ft2,however one property in Liverpool advertised a 69 ft2 sizedroom as a double bedroom.

The analysis covered 350 four and five bed houses for sale across ten of the UK’s biggest cities, and found that around one in six (17%) of properties the double bedrooms are exceptionally small and would barely house two people.

Nick Brabham, head of SELECT Premier Insurance, said: “Anyone who has purchased a property knows the marketing literature can often be misleading, but it is concerning to see so many properties across the UK being marketed by estate agents as having single and double bedrooms which are barely fit for purpose.

A further 6% of bedrooms across the UK are technically uninhabitable, containing bedrooms smaller than the 50 ft2 to be classified as a single bedroom2. Estate agents in Sheffield are guiltiest of this, with 15% of single bedrooms rooms advertised being too small to be habitable if the house has a significant number of occupants. Estate agents in Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh are the most accurate in listing single bedrooms in online property advertisements.

Brabham added: “We urge buyers to check the measurements of bedrooms before putting in an offer on a house; otherwise they may find their ‘double’ bedroom barely has enough space for a bed.”

When looking at properties overall, estate agents in Bristol are the most inaccurate, as two thirds (66%) of properties for sale in the city had at least one incorrectly-listed bedroom (based on a large number of occupants). This is followed by Sheffield (60%), Liverpool (57%) and Birmingham (57%). Estate agents in Edinburgh are by far the most accurate, with only 17% of properties in the Scottish capital containing incorrect bedroom listings.

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