Following my conversations with Southwark Council Housing Solutions team, I am working on launching a campaign for Southwark Council to redefine what statutory housing is in Southwark. Currently applicants are placed in band 3 if they're overcrowded however they are placed in band 1 if they are as defined as "statutorily overcrowded" by part X of the Housing Act 1985.
The issue with the Housing Act 1985 legislation is that it considers a living room as a bedroom in the calculation as to whether a family is overcrowded, however many living rooms are parts of open-plan kitchens. The legislation was written in 1985, a time when open-plan kitchens were not as common as they are now and so this is outdated and needs to be reconsidered, especially as living rooms tend to be the only social space for families who are overcrowded.
Throughout the pandemic, being overcrowded has become even more intense than it has been in the past - especially for shielding families like myself. With little room to self-isolate whilst family members are having to go into work or school, risking our health and safety in the process. The overcrowding has become even more intense than previously especially with little room for exercise or mental space especially during the Spring/Summer of 2020 when we were unable to go out.
In launching this campaign I hope to push Southwark Council to reconsider their local level of what Statutory Overcrowding means in Southwark.