This week saw several important legislation changes that will affect landlords throughout England. It is of extreme importance that landlords familiarise themselves with the new laws to keep their business’ above board.
This week saw several important legislation changes that will affect landlords throughout England. It is of extreme importance that landlords familiarise themselves with the new laws to keep their business’ above board. These changes have been put into force with immediate effect, therefore landlords and managing agents should ensure that they comply or they could face some serious consequences.
New HMO Legislation - Overview
The HMO legislation put into effect on 1st October 2018 requires that landlords in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) and Managing Agents who have properties with five or more tenants that form more than two households apply for an HMO licence. If you require more information about whether or not your properties fit into this category then it is a good idea to seek professional advice because the legislation varies from borough to borough.
One of the major changes to the legislation is that it is now mandatory to apply for an HMO licence no matter how many storeys your property has. Landlords can apply for an HMO licence from their local council. The fee for the HMO license varies dependant on the size of your property.
As mentioned above this legislation requires due diligence, as the consequences of not complying are quite severe. There are fines of upwards of £30,000, banning orders, the council can also seize and take over the management of your property as well as guilty landlords receiving a criminal record. Therefore, it pays to completely understand whether or not the new laws affect you and then take suitable steps to comply.
HMO laws are much stricter and require a lot more red tape than private single occupancy lettings. For example landlords are required to apply for a variety of certificates to prove that the electricity, gas and appliances are kept in good working order. Additionally structural alterations may be required if your property now falls in the HMO bracket.
Finally, there are new laws surrounding minimum room sizes in a rental property. Landlords will now be required comply with the new “minimum usable floor space” specifications. These are a minimum of 6.51 square metres (sq m) for a single adult, 10.22 sq m for two adults and 4.64 sq m for children under the age of 10. The “minimum usable floor space” has been added to the legislation to attempt to counteract the rising number of inadequate, cramped and often crowded rental properties in England.
Smaller rental room sizes will not be permissible by law. Furthermore, a landlord must ensure that there are adequate refuse provisions for the property. There are hefty financial penalties for landlords in breach of these new laws.
The new HMO laws apply to landlords with private rental properties that house two or more families. This means that the legislation affects students in multiple occupancy as well as any rental property with more than 5 tenants that use the same amenities. To ensure that your property does not fall into this category please consult a professional property manager or your local council. Hiring a property manager can take the stress out of managing an HMO.