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Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

28/11/2018 11:00:00
News Getting our licence

Tighter regulations have been introduced to improve letting standards across England and Wales.

From 1st October 2018, new rules, affecting around 160,000 houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), provide councils with the power to take further action to tackle rogue landlords renting out sub-standard and overcrowded homes.

Traditionally, under the Housing Act 2004, landlords leasing a house or flat occupied by three or more people from two or more households (families) have had to apply for an HMO licence from their local authority.
 
Amendments to the Housing Act 2004, which came into force on 1st October mean:

  • Landlords who are operating HMOs that are only two storey or less, with five or more occupiers, who were previously exempt, now need a licence
  • The rules apply to all premises which are either a converted building with living accommodation, or one which contains self-contained flats, including flats above or below shops and other business premises meeting this criteria


Licences issued from 1st October 2018, have to ensure that the following conditions are met in respect of floor area:

  • To ensure the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged over 10 years is not less than 6.51 square metres

  • To ensure the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by two persons aged over 10 years is not less than 10.22 square metres

  • To ensure the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged under 10 years is not less than 4.64 square metres

  • To ensure any room in the HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64 square metres is not used as sleeping accommodation.


A Landlord must:

  • Make sure the house is suitable for the number of occupants (this depends on its size and facilities)

  • Be considered ‘fit and proper’, for example they have no criminal record or breach of landlord laws or code of practice

  • Install and maintain smoke alarms

  • Send the council an updated gas safety certificate every year

  • Provide safety certificates for all electrical appliances, when requested.


There is an 18-month period, from 1st October 2018, for existing landlords to comply with the new regulations. Where a breach is found to exist, landlords will have a maximum period of 18 months to make the necessary improvements.

What landlords need to know:

  • A licence is valid for a maximum of five years

  • You must renew your licence before it runs out

  • You need a separate licence for each HMO you run

  • You should apply for the licence yourself, but if you use a managing agent, they can apply for you

  • You’ll be charged a fee which is set by the council

  • You could get an unlimited fine for renting out an unlicensed HMO.