HMO Changes - Follow-up

Last week I posted a link to an article by Property Industry Eye about changes to the rules for Mandatory HMO Licensing that were implemented on 1st October this year. If your property now meets the criteria for a large HMO and requires a license but you don’t have one it could have serious implications including a fine of up to £30,000!!!

I’ve had a couple of calls since then asking for clarification and the basic rule is that you have a large HMO and need a mandatory HMO license if your property has:

– 5 or more people from 2 or more households (basically unrelated people) and
– those people share facilities – bathroom, toilet, kitchen etc

So the change is that they’ve taken away the three storey rule. Previously the property had to be over three floors to be a large HMO, but now it doesn’t matter if your five people are sharing a bungalow or a flat it’s still a large HMO and you still need a license. It’s a simple change but it means that there will be somewhere in the region of and extra 160,000+ properties in England needing licenses. <The cynic in me says that’s an awful lot of money – apparently something in the region of £79m!>

So you need a mandatory HMO license if you have five or more unrelated people sharing facilities, right? Well yes but……….. there is one big exception to the rule – If your shared property is a purpose built flat in a block that has at least three units, then you don’t need a mandatory license. The reason is all about fire and the standards and structure of the building.

OK so it’s still fairly simple – you need a mandatory HMO license if you have five or more unrelated people sharing facilities unless your property is a purpose built flat in a block of three or more units in which case you don’t need the license, right? Yes, but of course depending on where your property is, you may still need an ‘additional license’ for your HMO……….(But fortunately not in Enfield!)

Also, don’t forget that the rules about minimum room sizes also changed on 1st October so for example, if you are letting out a room to a single adult and the room is smaller than 6.51 sqm then you need to do something about it quickly. Different minimum sizes apply for 2 people sharing – 10.22sqm, and children under 10 – 4.64sqm.

So if you have a five bedroom house that you let out on a room by room basis and you find one of your rooms is now unlettable because it falls below the minimum size and so you only have four tenants, then you don’t need an HMO license.

Of course that’s not the whole story and there is even more detail, for instance new rules for rubbish.  It’s no wonder people find this a little complicated!
So if you have a shared house it’s worth having a look at the government website for more information.