Mandatory licensing will no longer be limited to certain HMOs that are three or more storeys high, but will also include buildings with one or two storeys.

From 1 October 2018 the definition of houses in multiple occupation or ‘HMO’ will change so that the mandatory licensing scheme will be extended to include any HMO building in which more than one household lives. Mandatory licensing will no longer be limited to certain HMOs that are three or more storeys high, but will also include buildings with one or two storeys.

There are 3 tests to determine whether a property is an HMO: the standard test; the self-contained flat test and the converted building test. These tests examine whether the basic amenities are being shared. So for example, whether two or more of the households who occupy the living accommodation share one or more basic amenities, or the living accommodation is lacking in one or more basic amenities. Basic amenities are defined as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities

From 1 October 2018 local housing authorities must impose conditions concerning the provision of suitable refuse storage facilities for HMOs and as to minimum sleeping room size; landlords will have to stop letting rooms that fall below the nationally prescribed standard.

The sanctions for breaching minimum room sizes are onerous and if a licence holder commits an offence and is convicted they may be liable to an unlimited fine. The local housing authority may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution.

For any future landlords who wish to make an application for a new HMO licence is, and recommended by many local housing authorities, that you ensure in advance of the applications being submitted that you have all the necessary supporting documents including a current gas safety certificate; EPC; electrical safety certificate; written fire risk assessment; PAT test certificate; plan(s) of the property showing room sizes and number of rooms to be occupied by tenants.

For further information relating to the points raised in this article, please contact Jeremy Scott on 07971 520407 or jeremy.scott@luptonfawcett.law.

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Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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