New mandatory HMO licensing rules taking effect from 1st October 2018
Mandatory licensing criteria regarding Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) comes into effect across all local authorities in England on 01 October 2018 and there is also new Selective Licensing affecting some, but not all local authorities.
There are three key changes across all local authorities
- New Mandatory Houses in Multiple Occupation Licensing Criteria
Any property occupied by five (or more people) forming two (or more) households who also share facilities such as the kitchen or bathroom, regardless of the number of storeys is now subject to the new HMO licensing criteria.
E.g. the former HMO licence only applied to properties of three or more storeys and now the licence would apply to a family of four living with a friend in a bungalow.
A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together.
A family includes people who are:
– married or living together – including people in same sex relationships
– relatives or half – relatives, for example grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
– step parents and step children
- Minimum room size for sleeping
National minimum room sizes for sleeping will be introduced:
Minimum 4.64 square metres – one person under 10 years
Minimum 6.51 square metres – one person over 10 years
Minimum 10.22 square metres – two people over 10 years
Any room where the ceiling height is less than 1.5 metres cannot be used towards any minimum room size
- Waste/Refuse disposal in accordance with the relevant local authority scheme
Included in the new HMO Licensing criteria will be the requirement to comply with whatever the relevant local authority’s scheme is for the storage space provided for and / or the disposal of any domestic refuse.
What if landlords have a local authority selective licence already?
If landlords have a current selective licence, and the size of the tenancy group – five (or more) people forming two (or more) households does mean the property would be included in the new HMO legislation, they will need to contact their local authority and discuss the options such as a variation of the existing licence to meet the new HMO regulations.
What happens if landlords do not apply by 01 October 2018 and their HMO property falls into the new Mandatory criteria?
All offences are open to a fine of up to £30,000.
Landlords will not be exposed to any of these penalties if they contact their local authority and access the licensing section of their website and start the application process. A number of local authorities have an interactive website where you can enter your address and postcode to check if the property is in a selective licensing area.