The government proposes to expand mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) which is designed to help councils standardise living standards in HMO’s across the country.
The rules being introduced mean that the following properties must apply for a HMO license:
- Properties inhabited by five of more people, which makes up two or more households: A household is classed as an immediate family (parents and children), partners (married, civil partnership or co-habiting), or individuals.
- Three storey properties, single and two storey properties must now be licensed, if they fall within the above remit, including properties converted into bedsits.
- Properties above commercial buildings (such as shops or restaurants)
It could be fairly costly if the correct license is not attained – should a landlord let a room smaller than the prescribed dimensions, they would be breaching their license, and would be liable for an unlimited fine, or civil penalty of up to £30,000.
It has been proposed that as part of the mandatory licensing conditions, license holders must provide adequate receptacles for the storage and disposal of the household waste created by the property. This could lead to losing your HMO license if not dealt with correctly.
As well as having to make sure you abide by the landlord legislation, in order to pass your HMO license, new regulations suggest that you have to be deemed a ‘fit and proper person.’
In the first instance, a license may be denied if evidence is provided that proves that the person in question has been convicted of a criminal offence involving fraud, dishonesty, drugs, violence or sexual abuse, or if the proposed licensee has practiced unlawful discrimination or broken any housing law relating to housing, landlord or tenant law.
Additionally, if the person in question does not have permission to enter or remain in the UK, or is insolvent or an undischarged bankrupt, they may also be denied a license.