As of October 1st 2018, new rules are in force regarding licensing for HMO properties.
HMOs, or houses in multiple occupation, will now be subject additional licensing requirements that are thought to effect a further 160,000 properties.
Previously, an HMO property required a license if all of the following conditions were met:
- it’s rented to 5 or more people who form more than 1 household
- it’s at least 3 storeys high
- tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities
However, the new rules have removed the requirement for a property to be at least 3 storeys. That means 2 storey properties that are rented to five or more people from more than one household will likely require an HMO licence if there are shared facilities in the property.
The penalty for a landlord who fails to ensure an HMO licence is not in place when it should be can be up to £30,000.
Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association (NLA), said: “The government made the announcement about mandatory HMO licensing in January, but we’re concerned that many landlords may not have applied for their licences.
“It may be that landlords thought there was a six-month grace period, as was originally proposed. This is not the case and we don’t want to see anyone committing an offence through ignorance.”
The HMO changes will collectively cost buy-to-let landlords in the region of £79m, according to research carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).
New Minimum Room Size Requirements
In addition to the change in criteria for properties that require an HMO licence, there are also changes to the minimum size requirements for bedrooms in HMOs. This has been implemented in an attempt to prevent overcrowding.
From now on, local councils will have the ability to enforce a minimum room size of 6.61 square metres for single rooms and 10.22 square metres for double rooms.
These new requirements are in addition to the rules and regulations that properties classed as HMOs must already abide by.