Councils will be handed tough new powers to punish rogue landlords up to £30,000.
Under the new legislation, being introduced in October, councils will be able to set minimum bedroom size standards and also introduce limits on how many people can live in each bedroom of a licenced multiple occupancy home. Those found in breach of overcrowding and living conditions regulations would be subject to fines levied directly by local authorities.
The planned measure comes as part of a central government crackdown on unscrupulous landlords, initially introduced in January, and includes banning orders for the worst offenders.
The new standards will apply to all private landlords applying for new licences, while those who own existing properties will be given up to 18 months to make necessary changes when re-applying for a licence after it has expired.
The plans would help crack down on rogue landlords who exploit tenants by renting out cramped and sometimes squalid or dangerous properties.
According to the space requirements proposed by the government, rooms used for sleeping by one person over 10 will have to be a minimum 6.51sqm, and those slept in by two people over 10 will have to be no smaller than 10.22sqm. Rooms slept in by children of 10 years and younger will have to measure at least 4.64sqm.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: “This move will help ensure tenants have the space they need and deserve as well as reduce health and safety risks they face by sharing cooking and washing facilities with too many people.”