Legislation News Update
From 1st October 2018, the scope of mandatory licensing is being extended in England. Mandatory licensing will include:-
• All HMOs with 5 or more occupiers (including children) living in 2 or more households regardless of the number of storeys. Effectively this means the storey requirement will be removed from the current definition. Even if the property is smaller and rented to fewer people, landlords may still need a License depending on the area.
• Purpose built flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or both of the flats are occupied by 5 or more persons in 2 or more separate households. This will apply regardless of whether the block is above or below commercial premises. This will bring certain flats above shops on high streets within mandatory licensing as well as small blocks of flats which are not connected to commercial premises.
• Applications must be accepted and processed before 1st October 2018.
• From October, councils will be able to set minimum bedroom size standards for HMOs and also introduce limits on how many people can live in each bedroom. Councils will be able to use national minimum standards or apply even tougher requirements if they feel there is a specific problem in a local area. A fine of up to £30,000 can be applied for those who fail to comply.
• The guidance states that the minimum sleeping room sizes are:
· 6.51 m2 for one person over ten years of age
· 10.22m2 for two persons over ten years of age
· 4.64 m2 for one child under the age of ten years.
• Any area of the room in which the ceiling height is less than 1.5m cannot be counted towards the minimum room size. The HMO licence must specify the maximum number of persons (if any) who may occupy any room and the total number across the different rooms must be the same as the number of people the house is to be home to.
• Existing licence holders will have to comply with the new minimum room size requirements from when an existing licence is renewed after October 2018. If a landlord is not compliant at the time of renewal a local authority must give them up to 18 months to make changes.