At the beginning of October, important new rules affecting House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licences took effect, which will affect thousands of landlords all across the country who let out these kinds of properties.
Up until 1 October, a HMO was defined as ‘a property shared by unrelated people forming more than one household’. In order to let out such homes, some landlords required a licence, but only if:
- The property was occupied by five or more people from more than one household.
- The tenants shared facilities with one another.
- The HMO was at least three storeys high.
Following the introduction of the new changes, landlords need to note that the third rule no longer applies – meaning that homes of less than three storeys now also require a HMO licence if they are occupied by more than five people from different households who share facilities with one another.
Landlords affected by the new rules now face a number of other challenges, too, including having to comply with a new ‘minimum room size’ for HMO bedrooms.
The new rules in this area stipulate that:
- Any bedroom used by a single adult must be a minimum of 6.51 square metres (similar in size to two king-size beds).
- Bedrooms used by two adults must be 10.22 square metres (similar in size to a car parking space).
- Bedrooms used by children aged 10 or less must be at least 4.64 square metres (similar in size to a king size bed and a half).
- No room of less than 4.64 square metres can be used as a sleeping space.
On top of this, each HMO licence granted from now onwards will stipulate the maximum number of tenants allowed in a HMO and the maximum number of persons that can occupy any one room.
Landlords who require a licence will also need to prove that their property is suitable for a large number of occupants and supply the relevant gas safety certificates and smoke alarms. In some instances, councils may require landlords to make improvements to the property.