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New survey reveals regional shift by HMO landlords

Market analysis from Octane Capital has revealed that the number of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in England has dropped in the past year.

According to the firm, the decline is likely caused by strict new regulations introduced by the government, which introduced new regulations in 2018 that insist that a HMO licence is required for all properties that are occupied by five or more people who are not members of one family. Previously, a licence was only required for properties of three storeys or more in which five or more people live and are not members of one family.

Octane’s data shows that, on an annual basis, the number of HMOs in England fell by 3%, from 511,278 in 2019/2020 to 497,884 in 2020/21.

This overall national decline was in London where the number of HMOs has declined by 13% – the biggest reduction of all regions. In the capital, 11 different boroughs have reported a drop, with the biggest coming in Ealing where HMOs have declined by 59%, followed closely by a 58% decline in Lambeth.

However, in the East Midlands the number of HMOs surged by 21% last year, which was the largest increase in England.

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