The government is attempting to crack down on rogue landlords
Bedrooms in Britain will have to meet a new sizing standard if they are to be rented out.
Ministers are drawing up plans aimed at ensuring landlords don't squeeze too many people into properties.
Bedrooms in houses of multiple occupation will have to be a minimum of 6.5 sq m (70 sq ft), and landords letting rooms smaller than that will be guilty of a criminal offence.
Local authorities in England will have to pick up on those that don't meet the standard when they assess licence applications for multiple occupancy homes.
The government's proposals also include extending licensing rules, so they cover flats above shops.
Housing minister Gavin Barwell says rented homes have to be safe.
"What we're doing is tightening up the rules", he says, "But we're also ensuring that they are licenced by councils and that there are clear penalties for those who either break their licence or don't apply for a licence."
The proposal was sparked by an outcry over “rabbit hutch properties”, many costing as much as £1,000 a month, as landlords cash in on the booming housing market, particularly in London.
A major Savills report into the rental market in Dublin predicts that costs could climb between 22-26% over the next two years.
The real estate agents found that there has been a 61% increase in the number of households renting in the capital over the past five years – the roughly 328,000 people renting there now comprise 25% of Dublin's total housing market.