New licensing rules due to take effect on Monday 1 October 2018 will require some 177,000 UK landlords to apply for House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licences, it has been warned.
The news comes as part of plans to ‘broaden’ the definition of a HMO in the eyes of the law, which will effectively introduce a number of new minimum requirements for landlords who let out multiple-occupancy properties.
Under the existing rules, a HMO is defined as a property which is shared by unrelated people forming more than one household. However, the law states that landlords will only need a licence if:
- The property is occupied by five or more people from more than one household.
- The tenants share facilities with one another.
- The HMO is at least three storeys high.
From 1 October, however, the third condition will be removed, meaning that homes of less than three storeys will now also require a HMO licence if they are occupied by more than five people from different households who share facilities.
According to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), this will affect tens of thousands of landlords across the UK, who will need to ensure that they are compliant with the new rules.
Furthermore, landlords who fall under the licensing scheme will face a number of other challenges, including the introduction of a new ‘minimum room size’ for HMO bedrooms.
These rules stipulate that:
- Any bedroom used by a single adult must be a minimum of 6.51 square metres (similar in size to two king-size beds).
- Bedrooms used by two adults must be 10.22 square metres (similar in size to a car parking space).
- Bedrooms used by children aged 10 or less must be at least 4.64 square metres (similar in size to a king size bed and a half).
- No room of less than 4.64 square metres can be used as a sleeping space.
On top of this, each HMO licence will stipulate the maximum number of tenants allowed in a HMO and the maximum number of persons that can occupy any one room. Landlords who require a licence will also need to prove that their property is suitable for a large number of occupants and supply the relevant gas safety certificates and smoke alarms. In some instances, councils may require landlords to make improvements.
Anyone who is unsure about the new rules should seek specialist legal advice to ensure compliance. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.