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How many rooms can you occupy at any one time? One. And one is all you need, if it is a decent sized room.

Twenty one years ago I moved from Bradford, Yorkshire, to London to join my husband. I left a huge room in a shared house in a semi-rural setting (£35 pw) for a tiny bed-sit,  smaller than the bathroom in the Bradford house, in a slum house for £85 pw (rent shared). My wages at that time were slightly over £3 an hour, so if I had been a single person the move to London would have meant moving from a reasonable quality of life to a penurious one.

We stayed at that address, with the same rent, for nine years, until an IRA man moved into the house and all the longstanding tenants moved out. The landlord immediately converted the six bedsits into three flats, charging £245 pw.

Shortly after we found a lovely bedsit, a large room (10′ by 20′) for £300 pcm. Every year the rent increased, by about £20 pm. After about five years the landlord decided to “upgrade” by converting the bed-sits into flats by putting a wall down the middle and adding en-suite. From living in a good sized room (10′ by 20′) for about £480 pcm, we now lived in two rooms (10′ by 10′) and remember, you can only occupy one room at a time), a bedroom, which amounted to walls around a double bed with standing room at one side, and a living room/kitchen, which fitted out with a couch, a wardrobe and a table, left standing room only. The Letting Agents were now charging over £100 pa for the service of adding an annual increment of rent on our contract. Because we were now living in a flat, rather than a room, we were now paying Council  Tax and Water Rates. The Landlord had set the electricity to extract a standing charge of £2.50 pw (that is a Bill of £130 pa for using NO electricity). Our rent had increased from £480 for living in a room to £640 for living in half a room – a human battery cage. When all the accommodation charges were added up they came to over £9,300pa – the running costs of a standard home outside London, and equalled either my ENTIRE monthly income, or my husbands entire income (retired with ill-health).

And anyone who lives in London is no doubt looking at my figures and asking how did you find places so cheap? (We moved back to Yorkshire in 2011).

I have taken a long time but I will get to the point. What size is a room, or more to the point, what size should a room be? My husband and I were content with our decent sized room at a reasonable rent for a room. Obviously we were not content at being forced to live in a “room” the size of a broom cupboard costing fifty percent more. Our room before conversion was 10′ by 20′, a generous size and comfortable. Plenty of storage space, room for decent furniture and room to move around. A room 10′ by 10′, has no storage space, and even with minimum furniture, there is just about enough room to walk into the room and stand. If you have only one room to live in it should at least be a decent size.

Time is overdue for legislation defining the size of a room for living in as at least 10′ by 15′.

 

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