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Buy To Let

More landlords will now need a licence

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

From today, an extra 160,000 houses in multiple occupation (HMO) will have to be licensed by the local authority.

If you’re a landlord who rents out a property to five or more people who are not related to each other, you’ll need a licence under new government rules to improve the standard of lettings in the UK.

Under the old rules, a licence was only required when the property had three or more storeys and five or more tenants from more than one household, collectively sharing the kitchen, toilet or bathroom.

From today (1 October), the three storey rule has been removed, which means properties which might not have been classed as an HMO may now fall within the guidelines so more landlords will need the necessary licence.

The penalties for operating an unlicensed HMO can include prosecution or a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association (NLA), said: “The government made the announcement about mandatory HMO licensing in January, but we’re concerned that many landlords may not have applied for their licences.

“It may be that landlords thought there was a six-month grace period, as was originally proposed. This is not the case and we don’t want to see anyone committing an offence through ignorance.”

The new rules also set out the minimum size requirements for bedrooms in HMOs in a bid to prevent overcrowding.

As part of the licencing requirements, local councils will be able to make sure only rooms meeting the standard are used as bedrooms.

Rooms sleeping one adult must be at least 6.51 square metres, for two adults rooms must be no smaller than 10.22 square metres.

Examples of HMOs:

  • Bedsits
  • Shared houses
  • Lodgings
  • Hostels
  • Individual shared self-contained flats/cluster flats
  • Blocks of converted flats
  • Halls of residence (privately operated)
  • Asylum seeker/migrant accommodation
  • Accommodation for workers/employees
  • Refuges.

Source: The Residential Landlords Association