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The Latest HMO Requirements for Landlords in 2019

Brought into action in October 2018, changes in regulations for multi-occupied properties mean landlords must comply with different HMO requirements in 2019. Here’s everything you need to know.

New HMO Requirements

The main changes in HMO regulations are:

Mandatory Licensing – Licensing is now mandatory for all properties in multiple occupation with 5 people (or more) forming 2 or more unconnected households. This differs from the 2004 Housing Act’s definition of HMOs, which was “properties in multiple occupation with 5 people (or more) forming 2 or more unconnected households and consisting of 3 or more storeys”.

Existing licences under the prior definition will remain valid until their expiration date (typically five years from their date of issue). A new licence must be applied for as usual upon expiration.

Landlords letting HMOs that previously did not require licensing but do so under the new definition must apply for a licence via their local council now.

There is just one important exception, which is properties within purpose-built blocks of flats consisting of three or more units.

Minimum Room Sizes – Introducing minimum standards for rooms in properties falling under the new mandatory licensing regulations, Regulation 2 prohibits landlords letting rooms with usable floor space below:

  • 51m2 to single adults
  • 22 m2 to two adults occupying the same room

Rooms falling below this prescribed standard that were previously deemed suitable for occupation can no longer be let as separate sleeping accommodation for anyone over the age of 10 years. The minimum floor space for children under the age of 10 is 4.64 m2 and rooms below 4.64 m2 cannot be offered as sleeping accommodation. Floor area below a 1.5 m height-standard is not to be included in calculations.

It is now mandatory for HMO licences to include conditions stating the maximum occupancy (number of persons) for each specific room to be used as sleeping accommodation within a property.

Landlords failing to stop letting rooms falling below these nationally prescribed standards are in breach of licensing conditions and may be prosecuted by their local authority or receive penalties under the provisions of the 2016 Housing & Planning Act.

New HMO licences granted since the 1st of October 2018 contain a condition that, in case of breach of minimum room size requirements, gives landlords 18 months to implement necessary changes.

Landlords must also comply with the HMO licensing standards of their local council, which may include making changes not only to comply with said minimum room sizes but also for compliance with amenity (i.e. number of bathrooms, kitchen facilities, etc) standards.

Refuse Storage & Disposal – Another new HMO licence condition relates to facilities for the storage and disposal of waste. Minimum storage facility/bin numbers are expected to be determined by the government and/or local councils. Learn more.

Need Help or Advice?

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