Changes to the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

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Changes to the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

The Private Sector Housing Team at Rother is notifying landlords and managing agents of forthcoming changes to Mandatory Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation.

1. The most significant proposed change is to extend mandatory licensing to cover all relevant HMOs regardless of the number of storeys.

At present a property must have a minimum of three storeys, be occupied by five or people and those five or people must be formed of two or more household and there is sharing of a basic amenity (washing, toilet or cooking facilities). With the proposal a single storey and two storey buildings will be included within the definition.

To put this into context, for example, if a two storey house was let to five students or friends this property under the proposed changes will now need to be licensed.

2. In addition Government are proposing to extend mandatory licensing to cover flats above/below business premises where there are less than three flats in the building.

Please note that the requirement for there to be five or more occupants that comprise of two or more households and there is sharing of a basic amenity will remain unchanged. It is only the storey height of the building that is proposed to change.

In addition, Government is proposing the following additional changes:

3. Introducing mandatory national minimum room sizes.

Minimum room size of 6.25 square metres for single room and 10.23 square metres for a double room. The room sizes will be placed as a compulsory condition on the licence. If a landlord is found renting out rooms that are smaller than the national minimum set sizes - the sanctions are an unlimited fine on conviction or a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

This will mean that any room found to be smaller than 6.25 square metres cannot be used for sleeping accommodation. If a room is below 10.23 square metres then the licence conditions will restrict it for habitation for 1 person only.

4. Introduction of a minimum ceiling height of 1.5m.

This will mean that any floor area of a room that has a ceiling height below 1.5 metres will not count towards the total room size.

The Local Authority has a legal duty to ensure all HMOs meeting the new criteria are licensed. If a property that should be licensed is discovered to be unlicensed, the Council may choose to prosecute the owner, where upon conviction, the courts can impose a fine of up to £30,000.

Further Information:

If you have any questions relating to mandatory licensing and the proposed changes, please email the Private Sector Housing Team at: private_sector_housing@rother.gov.uk

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