Houses in Multiple Occupation – Mandatory Licensing Information for Landlords

September 2018

Changes to HMO Licensing Regime from 1 October 2018

From 1 October 2018 a greater number of HMOs need to be licensed and new rules apply regarding minimum room sizes and waste management. We have updated our Guidance Notes for HMO landlords to reflect the changes.

What is an HMO?

In simple terms, a house or flat is an HMO if it is occupied by three or more tenants who form two or more households and the tenants share some or all of the toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.

When does an HMO need to be licensed?

Mandatory licensing applies to “large HMOs”. A large HMO is a property occupied by five or more tenants who form two or more households and who share some or all of the toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities. Prior to 1 October 2018, only a property with three or more storeys could be an HMO but this part of the definition has been removed.

Licences to operate HMOs are obtained from the local housing authority.

There is another type of licensing for HMOs – additional licensing – which is beyond the scope of this note.

Minimum rooms sizes

From 1 October 2018, rooms used as sleeping accommodation must have a specified minimum floor area. The required floor area varies according to the number and age of the occupiers as follows:

  • sleeping accommodation for one person aged over 10 years: not less than 6.51 square metres
  • sleeping accommodation for two persons aged over 10 years: not less than 10.22 square metres
  • sleeping accommodation for one person aged under 10 years: not less than 4.64 square metres.

HMO licences must include conditions referring to the minimum floor areas. If a landlord fails to comply with these conditions he or she can be prosecuted and, if found guilty, could receive an unlimited fine. Local authorities also have the option of issuing a civil penalty notice of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution.

 

Management of HMO household waste

For HMOs in England, a licence granted on or after 1 October 2018 must include conditions requiring the licence holder to comply with any scheme provided by the local housing authority relating to the storage and disposal of household waste at the HMO pending collection. As with other HMO conditions, landlords can be prosecuted for breaches. Schemes will vary from area to area but the idea is to require landlords to provide appropriate and sufficient refuse storage facilities for tenants.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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