Understanding the HMO laws in the UK can be a minefield, especially as the so-far four-year onslaught against the private rented sector continues and back in October 2018, landlords in Leicester were unsurprised to hear that even more HMO regulation was being thrown their way which resulted in many landlords finding themselves owning HMOs where they previously wouldn’t have been. This article recaps those changes and offers a FREE HMO Factsheet to ensure you’re doing at least the bare minimum to remain legally compliant but the factsheet is in no way exhaustive and further action should be taken to minimise risks and hazards.
Landlords who failed to act when the laws changed put themselves at risk of being fined hefty sums, upwards of £10’000 and even national property management brands were falling foul of the law. The change in what legally defines a property of an HMO was rather subtle, previously, a House in Multiple Occupation was defined as any property which is three or more storeys that were let to three or more tenants who form two or more households and share common facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.
The new HMO rules introduced in October 2018 meant properties that were occupied by five or more people from two or more households, regardless of the size or number of storeys, would be deemed as an HMO and would require a license.
The new regulations introduced minimum room sizes, meaning most attic bedrooms in Leicester would no longer be suitable for use as a bedroom.
Licenses issued from 1st October 2018 will have to contain the following conditions with regards to the minimum room sizes:
- to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged over 10 years is not less than 6.51 square metres;
- to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by two persons aged over 10 years is not less than 10.22 square metres;
- to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged under 10 years is not less than 4.64 square metres;
- to ensure that any room in the HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64 square metres is not used as sleeping accommodation.
Where a breach is found to exist, local authorities will be able to grant a period not exceeding 18 months to rectify the situation.
Landlords will also have to consider refuse disposal and storage facilities in HMOs and other shared properties in Leicester which are affected by the upcoming mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation as defined under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004.
The changes also mean landlords are required to comply with local refuse schemes to properly store and dispose of waste. Before the October 2018 change, owners of HMOs
Harry Albert Lettings & Estates offer a FREE HMO Factsheet available to download by clicking here.