Important Changes to HMO Legislation
published on 01/10/2018
From 1st October 2018, there will be important changes to HMO legislation. Any person working within the property industry, particularly involved with Houses of Multiple Occupation assets, need to be aware of the changes.
New regulations to bring mandatory licensing to all multi-occupied properties where there are five or more people, forming two or more separate households.
The main change to the legislation is the altered definition of an HMO under the Housing Act 2004:-
" for licensing purposes, from 1/10, an HMO will be any property occupied by five or more people, forming two or more separate households."
This contrasts with the previous HMO definition which was "a property occupied by 5 or more people, forming two or more separate households and comprising three or more storeys."
If you already have an HMO license under the current definition, this will continue to be valid until the license expiration date (usually 5 years from date of issue). After the expiration you will need to apply for a new license as usual.
If you currently let an HMO which didn’t previously require licensing but will do after the new order comes into effect later in the year, then you will need to apply for a license through the local council.
There is an important exception: if the property is in a purpose-built block of flats comprising 3 or more units
The change also introduces minimum room standards for those properties falling within the scope of mandatory licensing.
The proposals will prohibit landlords from letting rooms to a single adult where the usable floor space is less than 6.51sqm and 10.22sqm for a room occupied by two adults. It will be mandatory for an HMO licence to include a condition that states the maximum number of persons who may occupy each specific room in a property as sleeping accommodation.
Landlords will have to stop letting rooms that fall below the nationally prescribed standard. If they do not, then they will be in breach of licence condition and could be prosecuted by the local authority or alternatively receive a civil penalty under the new Housing and Planning Act 2016 provisions.
For any HMO related issues please get in touch today!