Landlords have been advised to consider two crucial changes due to be made to houses in multiple occupancy (HMO) licensing that will come into effect on 1st October this year.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has announced there will be minimum room sizes for all HMOs let privately. These include a requirement that rooms used for sleeping by one adult will be no smaller than 6.51 square metres, while those slept in by two adults will be at least 10.22 square metres. Local authorities also have the power to increase these sizes if they wish.

In addition, rooms used as a bedroom by children of 10 years or younger must measure a minimum of 4.64 square metres.

Secondly, local authorities must currently have a licensing scheme in place for properties that meet three criteria, including being spread over three or more storeys. This rule is being removed from 1st October, so properties that meet the other criteria – namely being defined as an HMO and being occupied by five or more people comprising two or more households – will be subject to the licensing regulations.

Allison Thompson, managing director (lettings) at Leaders, says: “These two rule changes will alter the picture for thousands of landlords across the UK. As well as being forced to offer bedrooms of certain sizes to tenants, some landlords will be required to secure a license for an HMO for the first time.

“The government has advised there will be no grace period when it comes to the ‘three storey rule’ so licenses must be in place before October. Our branch staff are ready to support any landlords who believe their properties may be affected and can arrange for licenses to be awarded.”

For more information on HMOs, including guidance on defining an HMO and licensing requirements, click here. Alternatively, contact your local Leaders branch for expert advice.


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