Are your landlord clients ready for the extended HMO licensing?

By Marie Grundy, sales director, West One Loans

In 2006, the mandatory houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) licensing for England and Wales came into force.

With shared housing growing since then, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has seen fit to extend the ‘scope’ of mandatory HMO licensing, which will be enforced from 1st October 2018.

WHO WILL BE AFFECTED?

Any person that manages or controls an HMO under the updated definition. If an HMO is found to be in operation without a licence, the landlord could be convicted – and the fines for non-compliance are unlimited.

If you think this may apply to your landlord clients, make sure they are aware of the following:

WHAT IS THE NEW, EXTENDED DEFINITION OF AN HMO?

A property is an HMO if it meets any of the following:

  • it has one, two, three or more storeys.
  • it’s occupied by persons living in two or more separate households and meets the standard test under section 254(2) of the act
  • the self-contained flat test under section 254(3) of the act, but is not a purpose-built flat situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats
  • the converted building test under section 254(4) of the act

HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT FROM BEFORE?

Most notably, the HMO licence requirement used to be limited to HMOs that were three or more storeys high. This will now include buildings with one or two storeys.

HAVE HMO CONDITION REQUIREMENTS CHANGED?

Yes, the Mandatory Conditions Regulations 2018 introduced the following new conditions:

Mandatory national minimum sleeping room sizes

  • 51m2 for one person over 10 years of age
  • 22m2 for two persons over 10 years of age
  • 64m2 for one child under the age of 10 years

Waste disposal

Landlords of HMOs must ensure there are appropriate facilities for storing the rubbish their tenants generate – and this will need to comply with their local authority’s storage and disposal of domestic refuse scheme. The government has reminded local authorities that they should continue to provide free, comprehensive and frequent waste collection services for HMOs.

DO THEY NEED TO APPLY FOR A NEW HMO LICENCE IF THEY ALREADY HAVE ONE?

If they have an existing licence under a selective licence scheme for your property, it will remain valid until it expires – and landlords will need to apply for a new licence as usual under the new conditions.