On 1 October 2018, the UK Government introduced changes to the house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence. You must now have a HMO licence if your property is rented to five or more people who form two or more households.
Failure to apply for a license by 1 October 2018, and to comply with the new rules, could result in a fine of up to £30,000, as well as a court prosecution.
What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)?
A HMO is a property that is rented to three or more people, who form two or more households. One household can be either one family unit, or an individual tenant.
Mandatory HMO licensing, and the current regulatory changes, applies to large HMO’s that are rented to five or more people who form two or more households.
Tenants living in a HMO share common facilities, such as the kitchen and the bathroom. A ‘house share’ is another term for this type of living arrangement.
To tackle rogue landlords renting out over-crowded properties, Newham Council in East London introduced the HMO licensing scheme in 2013. The scheme is now nationwide. My home and investment property is in Newham Council, so I’ve experienced changes brought forth by this scheme.
What are the changes to the HMO licence?
Below are the key changes to the HMO licensing scheme you need to know about:
- A HMO can now be a house, apartment or bungalow. Previously, a HMO was classified as a house with three or more storeys. A purpose-built apartment block with three or more units is currently exempt from the HMO scheme.
- Bedrooms must now be of a legal size. A room for one adult or two adults, must be, at least, 6.51 square metres and 10.22 square metres, respectively. A room for child under 10 years must be, at least, 4.46 square metres. A bedroom cannot legally be smaller than 4.64 square metres.
- Floor space is not calculated as part of the room size if the ceiling is less than 1.5 metres above the ground.
- The maximum number of tenants allowed to live in your property will be specified on your HMO licence.
- A gas safety certificate must be provided annually, if requested by the council. Installing a fire alarm is also a legal requirement.
How do you apply for a HMO license?
You must apply directly with your local council. Many councils accept online applications. The HMO licence is valid for five years.
In the next post, I will share my experiences on whether the HMO scheme is fair for landlords.
So, do you support the HMO licensing changes?
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