Our Manchester property accountants have seen research from the insurers Direct Line which shows that most estate agent property listings in the city describe at least one bedroom incorrectly under the Housing Act 1985.
An incorrect room description risks leaving the property legally over-occupied, if the total number of people living there is larger than the technical room sizes would allow for under the Act.
For instance, rooms smaller than 50 square feet in size are only inhabitable for a child up to the age of ten; 50-70 square feet is the legal qualification for a single bedroom; and the Act states that a double room should be over 110 square feet in size.
Yet in Manchester, 51% of property listings contain at least one bedroom that is smaller than the threshold for its intended use – higher than the national average of 48%.
However, our Manchester property accountants have taken a close look at the figures, and there is some good news, as Direct Line did not find any examples in the city of rooms that were too small to be inhabited at all, whereas nationally 6% of property listings made this mistake.
But 48% of Manchester’s so-called ‘single’ rooms are not as big as they should be, and 13% of ‘double’ rooms don’t measure up, compared with national averages of 36% and 8%.
Nick Brabham, head of Select Premier Insurance at Direct Line, 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.
“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.”