The government has revealed to landlords how health and safety rules for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) will impact their property businesses. From 1 October, private landlords renting out homes to five or more tenants from two or more separate households must have a local authority licence.
The measure is expected to catch 160-180,000 houses in the HMO licencing net in England. The aim, says the government, is to protect tenants from poor living standards in homes owned by a small number of landlords renting out overcrowded homes in an unsafe condition.
The new rules include regulations setting minimum sizes for bedrooms in shared houses to stop overcrowding and forcing landlords to take responsibility for their tenants’ rubbish.
Housing Minister Heather Wheeler said: “Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live. The new guidance for landlords will further protect private renters against bad and overcrowded conditions and poor management practice.”
A guidance document for local councils aims to standardise HMO rules across England and details a new definition of an HMO that requires a licence. Two tests are applied looking at how a property is occupied and what sort of building it is. The occupancy test requires a home to have five or more tenants from two or more separate households. The building test is more complicated, but removes the rule stating an HMO should be of three or more storeys to include bungalows and two storey homes for the first time.