Final Countdown: Mandatory HMO licensing changes happening on 1st October
As a reminder to landlords, the long-awaited changes to mandatory HMO licensing will come into force on the 1st October.
The changes will remove the three storey rule. Currently, mandatory licensing applies to HMOs of at least three storeys and five occupants comprising of two or more-family units.
The regulations also bring purpose-built flats where there are up to two flats in the block, into the scope of mandatory licensing.
It is critical that all landlords check if their properties come under the new regulations, if this the case, you should make sure you apply to your local authority as soon as possible.
Properties will be subject to mandatory licensing if they meet the following criteria:
- It is occupied by five or more persons;
- is occupied by persons living in two or more separate households; and meets—
- the standard test under section 254(2) of the Act;
- the self-contained flat test under section 254(3) of the Act but is not a purpose-built flat situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats; or
- the converted building test under section 254(4) of the Act.
- the Order applies to HMOs in England, but does not apply to converted blocks of flats, to which section 257 of the Act applies.
The NLA is also aware that many local authorities are completely ill-prepared for the changes, however, we advise you apply using the existing processes. Landlords will only need to show that they have applied for a licence by the 1st October, therefore we recommend you ensure you receive an acknowledgement of your application from your local authority.
We’ve also put together a handy guide on the appropriate action you should take:
Minimum Room Sizes
The act will also bring into force new minimum room sizes:
- 6.51m2 for one person over 10 years of age
- 10.22m2 for two persons over 10 years of age
- 4.64m2 for one child under the age of 10 years
Any room of less than 4.64m2 may not be used as sleeping accommodation, and landlords must inform their local authority of any room in the HMO which is under this size.
The Government had previously announced that there would be a six-month grace period. This is now not the case, all landlords must have applied for a licence by 1st October 2018.
Waste Schemes & Disposal Requirements
Each local authority can impose their own requirements for waste storage and disposal facilities for HMOs. Landlords will be required to comply with local waste schemes (if in place) and a failure to do so will be considered a breach of the licence and a criminal offence.
If you are unsure about the requirements in your area, you should contact your local authority.
You can also find our decision guide attached below to be downloaded.