Other requirements will be introduced including a database recording rogue Landlords, a minimum room size and tougher vetting of HMO Landlords. In addition, further requirements include the provision of reasonable storage space, disposal of rubbish and waste in shared accommodation, along with the tightening up of the fit and proper test for Landlords and ensuring criminal records checks are undertaken to inhibit rogue Landlords. These requirements will increase the level of tenant protection offered.
The key changes that the proposals plan to introduce include:
Remove the storey rule so that all houses, regardless of the number of floors, with 5 or more people from 2 or more households will need a licence.
Extend mandatory licensing to flats above and below business premises, regardless of the number of storeys.
Set a minimum room size of 6.52sqm in line with the existing overcrowding standard (Housing Act 1985).
In a recent government consultation, 78% of the respondents stated that the HMO licensing should cover all HMOs regardless of their configuration. As a result, the number of properties covered by the new license requirement will quadruple.
Over half of the UK’s local authorities have reported that non-licensable HMOs have a greater number of hazards than licensed HMOs including fire, gas and electrical safety issues. The new requirements will lower the number of hazardous properties, as well as the number of rogue Landlords and unfit shared homes, which will improve the standard of UK landlords and shared properties. The new requirement will be enforced by local authorities and will strengthen their role of tackling problem homes by punishing Landlords who exploit tenants and charge them extortionate rents to live in poor conditions. Since 2011, the government has provided £12 million to allow local authorities to carry out raids and inspections.
The proposed plans suggest the punishment of an unlimited fine to be paid by Landlords of unlicensed properties.
The proposals are well-received due to the increasing number of problem houses and rogue Landlords. Since early 2016, almost 2,800 rogue Landlords have been prosecuted for providing unsatisfactory housing. It is hoped that the requirement will reduce this number and improve the quality of shared properties.
If you would like to find out how the proposal will affect you, please contact the Let Leeds office by calling 0113 320 2000.