The first half of 2018 has seen a vast amount of changes within the property market. Further changes are in store for the second half of the year with changes to Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing.
Currently, HMO licences apply to landlords with certain types of properties. This includes letting a property to five or more tenants who share basic amenities and if the house is five storeys or higher. However, from 1st October 2018, any landlord letting to five or more tenants will be required to apply for a HMO licence, regardless of the number of stories the property has. In addition, properties that reside above commercial buildings, such as shops, will now also be required to be licensed.
The changes were agreed by Parliament on 23rd February with the aim being to extend the current licencing for smaller HMO properties, and to continue to ensure that tenants are not made to live in unsafe conditions.
Failure to comply
As it is an offence to not have a HMO licence when required to do so. Under The Housing Act (2004) landlords who fail to comply with the legislation can face severe fines of up to £20,000.
Councils may also impose their own penalties for non-compliance potentially leading to even larger fines. You will also need to ensure that you comply with your local councils HMO standards, and may, therefore, be required to make changes to your property to accommodate this.
It is, therefore, better to be safe than sorry and landlords should ensure that if letting to five or more tenants in the same property they are fully licenced. You can find out more information, including whether your property qualifies, by following government guidance here.