New strict laws for shared housing landlords will come into force from April 2019, says Housing Minister Alok Sharma.
Although the rules will need clearance from Parliament, the measures will curb overcrowding in houses in multiple occupation by demanding landlords offer tenants more sleeping space.
The rules will cover all private rented homes in England where five or more tenants from two or more separate households live.
From April, local councils will have to licence an extra 160,000 shared homes. Councils are already responsible for licensing 500,000 homes in England.
Bedrooms sleeping one adult will have to measure at least 6.51 square metres, while those for two adults should be no smaller than 10.22 square metres.
Rooms for children up to 10 years old must be 4.64 square metres or more.
The new HMO licence will state how many people can live in a room and the total occupancy for a property will specify how many people can stay in a home as a way of halting overcrowding.
The new measures will also specify several criminal offences that will bar landlords from letting out shared homes.
Landlords will also gain a duty to manage refuse disposal and recycling for HMO properties.
“Every tenant has a right to a safe, secure and decent home. But far too many are being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who profit from providing overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes,” said Sharma
“Enough is enough and so I’m putting these rogue landlords on notice – shape up or ship out of the rental business.
£30,000 fines for breaking new laws
“Through a raft of new powers, we are giving councils the further tools they need to crack down these rogue landlords and kick them out of the business for good.”
These new measures add to action by the government to improve safety and standards in the private rented sector.
Recent action includes bringing in fines of up to £30,000 for dodgy landlords, protections for tenants from revenge evictions and £12 million funding for councils to take enforcement action in hotspot areas.
A database of rogue landlords convicted of housing offences is due to switch on from April.