Following a public consultation, the government is looking to introduce two significant changes for HMOs. At the moment, these changes are still only proposals and would require parliamentary approval, but the National Landlords Association believes these are very definite t intentions and that the government is looking to implement them as soon as possible in 2017. Primary legislation would not be needed – it would just be a question of amending existing regulations, so the process could be completed very quickly.
The proposed changes are:
- Make licensing compulsory for all HMOs where five or more people in at least two separate households are resident. Currently, HMOs only require a license if they are on three or more floors. Removing the stipulation about the number of floors will mean substantially more HMOs would need to be licensed. This will mean additional costs for landlords and closer level of inspection. A license in Sandwell currently costs £780.20 per HMO. Although here are discounts for accredited landlords members of the National Landlord Association or members of the Residential Landlords Association. There are also discounts for landlords holding multiple licenses. Licenses in other council areas can be substantially more expensive.
- Introducing a minimum room size. This would be 6.52sq-m for one person or 10.23sq-m for two people. Breaching this rule could mean a penalty of £30,000 for the landlord. No – that’s not a typo – thirty thousand pounds!
At the moment, it has to be stressed that these are still only proposals. Once we receive any details or anything concrete, I will of course let you know.