Are you up to date on the new HMO regulations?

Are you up to date on the new HMO regulations?

A large proportion of the UK’s housing stock is Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs). The basic definition of an HMO is that at least three tenants must live there who share facilities despite forming more than one household. A larger HMO is defined as being at least three storeys high and rented to five or more people from two or more separate households who share facilities.

Whilst the HMO is an elegant solution to the large number of individual renters who cannot afford to rent on their own and must share, problems remain with the model. The most obvious of these is the issue of overcrowding, where a landlord will put more people in a house than it can safely support in order to make more money.

This is becoming a well-publicised issue in many parts of the country and has led the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to issue new regulations to stamp the issue out. From the 1st October 2018, all landlords who rent out a property to five or more people from two or more separate households will have to register with, and be licensed by, their Local Authority.

This change is predicted to impact approximately 160,000 HMO landlords, and will in theory allow local governments to better regulate the sector and take action to crack down on the minority of rogue landlords who are renting out low quality, overcrowded homes.

Additionally, the new regulations will set minimum sizes for rooms, and landlords will be forced to adhere to council refuse schemes in order to reduce the overall amount of waste. The new guidance also plans a review into how selective licensing might be used for landlords in the future in order to make sure those renting property out are fit and proper.

Heather Wheeler, a housing minister, 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 review is designed to enforce safety standards and to take into account the views of landlords, tenants and housing professionals so that the growing sector is more representative of everyone in the future.

With the better part of five million rented households in the UK, it is clear that necessary regulations need to be put in place sooner rather than later to ensure that the market works for everybody.

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