As of October 1st 2018 changes to the mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMO)take effect, which provides landlords with new rules for managing their properties. The government’s aim is to further strengthen the position of tenants and to “protect them from poor living conditions”.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government decided on making the respective changes already in June 2018 band they become official this month.
Any landlord who is letting a flat, house or other property to five tenants or more must retrieve a license from the local Council or other housing authority. This applies when the tenants are from two or more separate households.
According to the government, the new rules affect 160,000 properties in multiple occupation and enable Councils to reduce the number of overcrowded houses and properties of insufficient living quality.
By setting a minimum size for bedrooms in houses with multiple occupation, the government hopes to prevent overcrowding. Furthermore, the new regulations aim to tackle problem with rubbish by forcing landlords to follow their Council’s refuse scheme.
What is the HMO?
The Housing Act 2004, which was introduced in April 2006 in England and Wales, was created with the intention of providing a fairer and better housing market for renting properties. As of 1 October 2018 mandatory licensing is changing and it becomes:
The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Descriptions) (England) Order 2018
The act provides special rules for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) which are essentially properties where people who are not family members share accommodation or live in the same building, as these types of property are considered to be higher risk.
The type of properties likely to require HMOs include:
- Shared houses
- Blocks of flats
- Blocks of converted flats
- Accommodation for workers
The government’s new guidelines, which come into effect as of the 1st October 2018, state that a property must be licenced by their local housing authority if it is let to:
- 5 or more people
- Who come from 2 or more separate households
The key change is that HMO licensing is no longer only for properties 3 or more storeys high.
These new licences must be in effect by 1 October 2018.
There are also new rules alongside this that enforce:
· Minimum room size requirements for bedrooms
· Waste disposal provision requirements
It is important to note that the individual HMO requires the licence, and not just the building within which it is situated. So, if a building has multiple flats and each flat contains five or more persons from two or more households they will each require a HMO.