Law News

Government Publishes Key HMO and Selective Licensing Changes for Rental Properties

Jess Goodridge - June 22, 2018

New guidance for landlords was published yesterday by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The idea is to further protect tenants from poor living conditions and follows legislation introduced last month.

From 1st October 2018, any landlord who lets a property to five or more people – from two or more separate households – must be licensed by their local housing authority.

The move is likely to affect around 160,000 Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), and will give councils grounds for further action when it comes to the small minority of landlords who rent out sub-standard or overcrowded homes.

Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler MP, said: “Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live.

“Today’s new guidance for landlords will further protect private renters against bad and overcrowded conditions and poor management practice.”

The guidance document includes details on the mandatory licensing to smaller HMOs as it currently stands, as well as introducing minimum bedroom sizes for adult or two-adult rooms.

Government Publishes Key HMO and Selective Licensing Changes for Rental Properties

Government Publishes Key HMO and Selective Licensing Changes for Rental Properties

Review of selective licensing changes to take place in spring 2019

The government has also announced it will review how the selective licensing scheme is currently used, and how well it is working. This is all with the idea of continuing to improve standards in the private rental sector.

In areas where selective licensing applies, landlords must apply for a license if they want to rent out a property. In Nottingham for example, landlords in most areas of the city need a license for each property they rent out, to ensure it meets safety and quality standards, as well as .

The proposed review will see independent commissioners gather evidence from local authorities and bodies representing landlords, tenants and housing professionals.

The review’s findings will be reported in spring 2019, with updates on the progress in autumn of this year.

Chief Executive, David Cox of ARLA Propertymark commented on the proposal to review how selective licensing is used:

“Licensing means councils spend all their time administering schemes, rather than enforcing against rogue, criminal landlords – a fact which has been proven time and time again over the last decade. Implementing standards for minimum bedroom sizes means small, cheap bedrooms will be taken off the market at a time when there’s an acute housing shortage.

“This will increase costs for other tenants living in the property, and means those who need or want these small, cheap bedrooms will be left without anywhere to live.”

He added: “At a time when the government is concerned with rising rent costs, all its policies are just increasing costs for landlords, fostering a private rented sector where financial burdens due to ever-changing legislations will keep rising.”