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Shelter report about overcrowding: need your thoughts asap please!

(31 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 29-Jul-09 11:56:08

Need your thoughts on children sharing and what age it's no longer ok for children of different gender to share.

Got about 10 minutes!!

Report here

Thanks in advance
MNHQ

GypsyMoth Wed 29-Jul-09 12:03:10

i'm on our HA's list for a bigger house,but to be honest i'm happy enough as we are

5 children and myself in a small-ish 3 bed house.

older two are girls and now teenagers. i'm strict with keeping place tidy,so never ever looks a mess.

3 boys are moving into my room shortly and i'll happily move into the box room.....but considering taking the sofa bed and letting eldest have her own room.....sacrifices!!

i think you need to be prepared to be flexible and respect each others privacy and belongings.

biggest problem i have is a computer available for all kids at homework time,as we have to stagger it

bronze Wed 29-Jul-09 12:03:54

Ok thoughts

1) I find it interesting that social housing has rules for this yet private housing has no such thing

2) Don't understand why babies/children don't count as whole people

3) How different it is here. Have been abroad recently to a postwartorn country and families still shre. children in kitchens etc and they're halthy and happy and just thankful to have a roof over their heads

I guess I'm most comfortable in mixed genders sharing up until puberty but it does depend on the individual cases, how young younger child is etc and whether the people are nuclear family members.

Hope this is the ikind of thing you wanted

BertieBotts Wed 29-Jul-09 12:04:48

I think the definition seems a bit irrelevant - you hear of families being hugely overcrowded, way over the definition, but the council won't/can't rehouse them into a bigger house unless that does fit the definition.

E.g. 10 people living in 2 rooms, council only have 4-room housing available and according to the definition the family need a 5-room house, so they can't be moved even though the 4-room house would be better than where they currently are. I don't have personal experience of this though so I'm not sure whether it's an exaggeration of the situation.

Also it seems irrelevant because I assume it only refers to tenants in social housing, it isn't going to affect families with a mortgage. If a family has a mortgage but can only afford a house defined as "overcrowded", what help is available to them? What options do they have?

GypsyMoth Wed 29-Jul-09 12:04:51

our HA state that bathrooms and landings can all be used as sleeping space! not quite sure how i'd fit a mattress in my bathroom....i draw the line at that

bosch Wed 29-Jul-09 12:05:03

Wouldn't want to plan for children of different gender to share a room. OK for convenience of family or if children choose to share but would still need house to have enough rooms for children to have their own bedroom. Am appalled that 1935 criteria are still applied to definition of overcrowding.

PerArduaAdNauseum Wed 29-Jul-09 12:05:35

Overall it depends on the individual kids, but I would probably make 8 or 9 the cutoff for mixed-sex bedrooms these days - gives a couple of years before puberty onset for girls, and this seems to be when boys start in with the rude jokes (just from observing nephews). Puberty does seem to be arriving earlier now - whether it's diet or chemical exposure triggering, 9 seems to be the new 11.

Does that make any sense at all?

GypsyMoth Wed 29-Jul-09 12:06:32

puberty seems to occur earlier,so feel girls and boys need separate rooms at about 8-9. not sure what guidelines here are on that though

PerArduaAdNauseum Wed 29-Jul-09 12:09:40

Ilove - guideline in report says 10, which agree is a bit late these days

BertieBotts Wed 29-Jul-09 12:09:47

I suppose it depends what we are saying - is this an absolute minimum limit for hygeine etc, or an ideal minimum level which we accept cannot always be met, but should aim for?

Swedes Wed 29-Jul-09 12:10:20

You could make the point that schools now require more homework and coursework from children without regard to their access to space to carry out these tasks.

Tortoise Wed 29-Jul-09 12:14:41

I have a small 3 bedroom HA house.
DD1 6 and DD2 5 share which is ok but only just room for 2 beds plus draws in their room so no space to play.

DS1 12 and DS2 9 have their own rooms and i sleep on a sofa bed downstairs.

I think we need a bigger space but HA say we are in a big enough property.

God knows what it would be like if i had a DP/DH!

I think 8 is the oldest i would want different genders to share a room.

Meglet Wed 29-Jul-09 12:14:44

I am suprised that Shelter doesn't seem to have a minimum toilet to person ratio on there. Does that mean in theory you can have 10 people in a house but only one loo?! I'm not saying everyone needs an en-suite, but hygiene must be affected.

SOLOisMeredithGrey Wed 29-Jul-09 12:15:56

I guess this only counts if you rent!

I have my own 2 bedroomed house with me and one and a half children! hmm

Dd shares with me at the moment, but I'm looking at putting her in with my Ds who will be 11 in less than a fortnight. The room is a small double, but houses the hot water tank, airing cupboard and the boiler so there isn't that much space.

I am not in a position to sell up and move house and even if I do go back to work in January, it will take me quite a few years before I'll be able to consider it and that's if the market doesn't rise again or if I moved to a poorer area(I'm in a low ~ middle area atm).

I don't know that I could do what you are doing Tiffany, you sound very organised.

SOLOisMeredithGrey Wed 29-Jul-09 12:15:56

I guess this only counts if you rent!

I have my own 2 bedroomed house with me and one and a half children! hmm

Dd shares with me at the moment, but I'm looking at putting her in with my Ds who will be 11 in less than a fortnight. The room is a small double, but houses the hot water tank, airing cupboard and the boiler so there isn't that much space.

I am not in a position to sell up and move house and even if I do go back to work in January, it will take me quite a few years before I'll be able to consider it and that's if the market doesn't rise again or if I moved to a poorer area(I'm in a low ~ middle area atm).

I don't know that I could do what you are doing Tiffany, you sound very organised.

Swedes Wed 29-Jul-09 12:16:01

All mumsnetters know that you put up pink floral bunting in a girl's room and blue nautical bunting in a boy's room. What sort of bunting do you put in a room that's shared by both sexes? Eh? This is why it's inadvisable to share.

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 29-Jul-09 12:17:00

Thank you to everyone who took the time to post, but we've been bumped by "breaking news".

BertieBotts Wed 29-Jul-09 12:17:08

I do think the amount of living space separate from sleeping space should be taken into account, which would unfortunately make it more complicated. But I think 3 or 4 same sex children/teens can happily share a room, provided there is adequate space in the rest of the house for them to get some space and privacy from each other, do homework, etc. The amount of separate bathroom facilities should also be taken into account.

JoesMummy09 Wed 29-Jul-09 12:20:26

I am concerned that it is ok for kitchen spaces to be considered appropriate places for people to sleep. That seems quite dangerous.

I was also shocked that if a child is under 10 then they can be expected to share a room with someone of the opposite sex regardless of their age (eg 27 year old uncle could be sharing a room with 9 year old neice and that wouldn't be thought of as overcrowding).

I don't think there can be rules about private accommodation as it is down to the individual to choose suitable accommodation for thier family - but I do think there should be more council stock so people who need a council property can get one.

GypsyMoth Wed 29-Jul-09 12:21:29

i'd much rather have an extra bathroom than an extra bedroom!!

filchthemildmanneredjanitor Wed 29-Jul-09 12:21:39

pink on one side and blue on the other.

we have a smallish 3 bed house. luckily we have two boys so they will be able to share when ds2 grows out of the boxroom which really is the size of a box!

we won't be having any more children as we can't afford to buy a bigger house.

perhaps if more people took this approach then over crowding wouldn't be a problem?

you hear of people having more children despite not having enough space and then being outraged when they can't be rehoused.

we live in a small counrty where housing is at a premium-that's just the way it is.

expatinscotland Wed 29-Jul-09 12:24:57

'Does that mean in theory you can have 10 people in a house but only one loo?! '

Yep, it certainly does.

Most councils count living rooms as sleeping space.

I recently took part in a survey our HA put out regarding the points system and the overcrowding definitions.

The problem I have with changing a lot of these definitions is that it doesn't solve the root of the problem: which is not enough social housing to rent and not enough security in the private rental market.

In our area, a lot of people starting putting their houses on to let as they couldn't sell them for the price they wanted in the recession. Then a bunch of dodgy families went to letting agencies and rented them and became problematic.

Now the letting agencies are charging £75/person application fees before they'll even tell you if a landlord is willing to take DSS, or children or pets.

filchthemildmanneredjanitor Wed 29-Jul-09 12:27:40

it all comes down to thatcher selling off the council houses in the 70's and 80's and making it a good thing. it wasn't a good thing and has led to the social housing stock being much smaller.

and don't think david camerons lot will be much different.

BertieBotts Wed 29-Jul-09 12:29:56

JoesMummy I didn't realise that. IMO no child should have to share a bedroom with any adult who is not their parent or sibling.

bronze Wed 29-Jul-09 12:34:08

On the other hand we couldn't have afforded a house if there hadn't been ex council houses on the market. Though we paid market value, it does make me a little sick to see how much profit the right-to-buyers made on the place.

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