The current 2004 Housing Act stipulates that only certain Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) require a license. Specifically, properties with 5 or more unrelated occupants over 3 or more stories. This legislation does not cover properties with one or two stories with 3 or more unrelated occupiers, for instance student housing where students have their own room but share the kitchen and bathroom; commonly known as a house share.
However, according to a recent report on landlordzone.co.uk the introduction of new legislation as of 1st October 2018 could now affect around 175,000 additional properties in England.
So, what can landlords expect?
One main area that will be changing for landlords in England only is the elimination of the three or more story threshold. The removal of this will mean that properties with one or two stories will now fall under the licensing requirement.
So for mandatory HMO licensing to apply there needs to be five or more people from two separate households (unrelated) residing in the same property.
There will also be the introduction of minimum bedroom sizes to licensed properties. The minimum bedroom size for a single occupant is 6.512 metres and 10.222 metres for two people. There may be some circumstances where a child under ten years old may be allowed to occupy a bedroom that is less than the single occupancy size but no smaller than 4.642 meters.
Landlords that will fall under this new legislation need to be aware that failure to apply for a license or temporary exemption that from 1st October means they are committing a criminal offence. However should there be a breach of the new minimum room sizes the licensing council may provide a time period of up to eighteen months to rectify the situation.
In the Landlordzone article, Housing and Planning minister Gavin Barwell is quoted as saying: “In order to build a country that truly works for everyone, we must ensure that everyone has somewhere safe and secure to live.” adding “These measures will give councils the powers they need to tackle poor-quality rental homes in their area”.
If you are a landlord with student lets or HMO’s and need a competitive quote for your landlord property insurance, why not give us a call on 01206 655 899 or get a quote online.