There are some quite substantial changes about national regulations and law covering housing management in the pipeline, concerning particularly (but not exclusively) Houses in Multiple Occupation, (HMO). We don’t have full the detail yet or actual dates for implementation although some changes could come as early as this autumn.
Government guide on HMO licensing available on gov.uk
I should emphasize that these changes are not yet confirmed and we don’t normally like blogging until we’re certain of the facts,. However, some of these are quite significant so it’s probably worth making landlords aware of what we are currently expecting to happen based on the limited information we have, even if we can’t yet give you anything that’s definite.
So with that warning, we are expecting …
- Civil penalties of up to £30,000 for landlords who are in breach of key requirements in housing regulations.
- The removal of the 3 storey rule regarding the licensing of HMOs meaning that all properties with 5 or more people in 2 or more households will be subject to mandatory licensing.
- Extending mandatory licensing to flats above and below business premises (regardless of what storey the flat is on).
- A minimum room size of 6.52sq m for bedrooms . (We do expect that this will affect rooms in some HMOs in Sandwell).
These are the probably the most significant that we expect for now, but there are others including:
- A requirement to ensure there are sufficient refuse disposal facilities
- Database for rogue landlords and letting agents, and the requirement of a criminal record disclosure to ensure that landlords are fit and proper people
- Banning orders for landlords who are prolific offenders.
- New energy efficient regulations starting in April 2018
We will do further posts on all of these once we have some detail. And if you are not familiar with all of the existing regulations about HMOs and you either have one or are thinking about opening one, you can find a government guide on HMO licensing on gov.uk.
There is further information here on the council’s own web pages and you might also find it useful to look at ‘Home Stamp.’ (Home Stamp is a partnership of local Authorities, the private rented sector, Universities, Police and Fire Services). Home Stamp have a good deal of useful info on HMO’s and a varierty of landlord issues.
One final point to HMO landlords – if you have an HMO property that is ‘licensable’ and you don’t yet have a license, you could already under current rules be fined up to £20,000. So if in any doubt about your responsibilities, please check now!