Do you have an HMO property? New legislation being introduced in October means you may want to double-check your bedroom measurements.
If you are the landlord of an HMO property, it would be wise to double-check your bedroom measurements before October 2018. New legislation affecting all HMO property landlords in England means you may need to prepare for change.
What is the new law?
English councils are enforcing minimum bedroom sizes in houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs). A single occupancy bedroom in an HMO property must be no smaller than 6.51 square metres. For couples occupying one bedroom the minimum size is 10.22 square metres. Anything smaller than those dimensions breaches the new legislation and will not be considered a rentable bedroom space.
Where do the new HMO regulations leave you as a landlord?
Landlords up and down the country should be measuring spaces and taking stock of their properties. With the huge variety of English properties built across hundreds of years we’ve never established a consensual one-size-fits-all bedroom standard. Sadly then, it’s true that this legislation will lead to a few HMOs losing some bedrooms. It’s not just a loss of living space but a potential loss of profit.
The bottom line however is that no landlord wants to run the risk of losing their license, face conviction or incur a heavy fine. This new law is very binary in nature, in tonal similarity to the recent legislation over new rental properties having a minimal EPC rating of E. Compliance isn’t optional.
Room for a small one?
The key thing is to be smart about your HMO property. Re-think its potential. Smaller bedrooms with a minimum size of 4.64 square metres can be used for children under ten years of age. HMO properties have been typically used for a collective of disparate professional sharers. How about attracting larger families instead?
Rethink, redesign, re-let…
Alternatively, repurpose the bedroom that doesn’t make the new size grade. Convert it into an en-suite. It needn’t cost the Earth – and a bedroom boasting an en-suite is a far more attractive proposition to prospective tenants. Not least because it reduces the demand on shared facilities. Crucially, it can command a higher rental price too (an average of £100 per calendar month).
Finally, as long as your license permits, and you’re up to legal minimum standards, open up the property’s full potential and rent to more couples. Couples pay a greater rental income, and there’s an assurance in two people responsible for the monthly rent, rather than just one.
Need some advice?
New legislation needn’t mean the worst for the industry, nor your business. It’s about adapting to change and making it work best for your property. Here at Belvoir Cambridge we know the current market and understand how best to maximise your rental potential. If you’d like us to give your property a free market appraisal, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.
01733 321 500
Luke Clarke is Belvoir’s Lettings Manager. Luke has over 12 years of property experience and has built up unrivalled expertise in the lettings industry and remains a tried and tested advisor for landlords who not only intrust Luke with the complexities of day to day property management but also to assist them with the ongoing development of their property portfolio.