Parliament is moving against non compliant HMOs
Last week housing minister Heather Wheeler Measures presented Parliament with measures to tackle overcrowded and dangerous living conditions of private tenants in houses in multiple occupancy (HMO).
From October, councils will be able to set minimum bedroom size standards and also introduce limits on how many people can live in each bedroom of a licensed HMO. Councils will be not only able to use national minimum standards, but also to apply even tougher requirements in order to address specific local needs.
This move aims to ensure that tenants have the space they need and deserve. The proposal also focuses on powers to restrict health and safety risks in shared cooking and washing facilities amongst a large number of people.
Who will be affected
The new standards will apply to all landlords seeking new licenses, which will likely extend by making all HMOs with more than 5 shares fall under the mandatory licensing scheme. So far in fact, houses with less then 3 stories have been exempt from licensing requirements. Landlords of existing properties will be given up to 18 months to make necessary changes when re-applying for a license when it expires.
In a move to stop rubbish piling up outside some shared rented homes, landlords will also be required to provide adequate waste storage facilities in line with their local authority’s rules. If they fail to do so they could face a fine.
These latest measures build on wider government action to drive up standards in the private rented sector by tackling bad landlords. This includes the launch of a new database of rogue landlords and introduction of banning orders for the worst offenders coming into force next month.
Wheeler said: “Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live. But some tenants are being exploited by a minority of unscrupulous landlords who profit from renting out cramped and sometimes squalid or dangerous properties.
“Today’s measures will mean landlords must provide adequate space for their tenants or face a hefty fine. It is part of a raft of new powers for councils to crack down on rogue landlords and comprehensive action we are taking to improve conditions for private tenants.”
What this will mean
It is debatable whether these measures have considered affordability in places such as London where people often prefer to sacrifice space for a cheaper rent. However, the government has already made their move, so the clock is now ticking against landlords.
Arguably, many landlords will be forced to consider whether to invest in new facilities, layout alterations, or even giving up their HMO business. This is particularly true in the case of amateurs who simply don’t have the knowledge nor the will to take on a much more professional management of their property.
Here at the Holborn Property Meet we help landlords and investors stay up to date with changing legislation. So if you think you might be hit by new laws and would like to ask us any questions, feel free to comment below, or on our Facebook Community Page.
You can also send us an email at [email protected]. Since I have an HMO business myself, I’ll happily help you avoid facing huge fines in this increasingly regulated market.
Finally, if you’d like a team of expert property developers and planners to look at your investment property and help you make it compliant, we can help. Click on this link to book our Compliance Consultancy service.
– Francesco Perticarari
HPM Co-Founder & professional Property Investor