HMO LICENSING EXTENSIONS
Changes were made in October 2018. Previously a property was only classified as an HMO (and this needed a permit) if it was rented to five or more people from more than one household, was at least three storeys high, and had shared facilities. In October 2018 the three-storey rule was removed, so any large flat or house share of five or more people now requires an HMO Licence.
If you are uncertain as to whether or not you will require an HMO Licence, you should contact the Local Authority or your Letting Agent.
LOCAL LICENSING SCHEMES
As well as mandatory HMO licensing, more than 60 Councils in England operate ‘additional’ or ‘selective’ licensing schemes.
Additional licensing is where the Local Authority’s add extra stipulations to the mandatory HMO rules, for example, if they feel they don’t go far enough or if the area is having particular issues.
Selective licensing, however, can apply to all landlords in an area. These schemes often require landlords to adhere to a code of conduct or pass a ‘fit and proper person’ test. Licences can cost as much as £600 in some areas and those that break the rules face big fines.
Please ensure that you make enquiries of the Local Authority to ascertain whether the property is affected.
MINIMUM SPACE REQUIREMENTS
Regulations governing the minimum size of bedrooms came into force in October 2018. The new rules relate to the minimum size of ‘sleeping accommodation in a rented home. The regulations depend on how many people will occupy the bedroom and again, you should make enquiries in order to satisfy yourself that the property complies.
Minimum energy efficiency standards were launched in April 2018 meaning that newly rented homes and those with renewed tenancies have to meet an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘E’ or above.
From 2020 these rules may also apply to existing tenancies,
The above information is not exhaustive and you should satisfy yourself and ensure that you fully understand your obligations so that you can factor in any costs involved.
Dated 7th February 2019
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.