With over 160,000 properties said to be hit, the changes to the HMO licensing rules on 1st October is a major event in the PRS calendar.
As of Monday, any rented property with five or more people, from two or more households, who share ‘common facilities’ will be classed as an HMO. The storey rule which was previously in place has been scrapped.
A six-month grace period was proposed in initial legislation, but this is no longer in place. There is no wiggle room on this, if an HMO landlord hasn’t applied for a new license by Monday, they are committing a criminal offence, and could face an unlimited fine.
You can get up to date with the new legislation here:
A study commissioned by Currys PC World Business and carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research has revealed that the legislation is set to cost landlords around £94.5 millon in fees, with licensing likely to set landlords back around £1,235 each.
The Government made the announcement about mandatory HMO licensing in January, but we’re concerned that many landlords may not have applied for their licenses. We encourage all landlords to make sure they do so before 1 October to be compliant. It may be that landlords thought there was a six-month grace period, as was originally proposed. This is not the case and we don’t want to see anyone committing an offence through ignorance. We have been contacted by a number of our members who have tried to apply for licenses, but the local authority has purported not to know anything about it or simply didn’t have the systems in place to process the applications.This is an unacceptable failing on the part of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which should have ensured all local authorities were up to speed with the changes. It’s disappointing that more consideration hasn’t been made for the significance of this change and the challenges local authorities face in implementing it. Our advice to landlords who have encountered this is to apply for an HMO license using the existing process, even if the council hasn’t updated their forms.Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association
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