The Government has confirmed that the extension of mandatory House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing will be introduced from 1st October 2018, subject to Parliamentary approval.
The regulations will replace the previous definition of an HMO, removing the three-storey rule and bringing purpose-built flats where there are up to two flats in the block into the scope of mandatory licensing.
Extension of Mandatory HMO Licensing to Begin in October
From 1st October, properties that meet all of the following criteria will be subject to mandatory HMO licensing:
- Is occupied by five or more persons.
- Is occupied by persons living in two or more separate households.
- And meets:
– The standard test under section 254(2) of the Act.
– The self-contained flat test under section 254(3) of the Act, but is not a purpose-built flat situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats.
– Or the converted building test under section 254(4) of the Act.
Properties that fall into the scope of the new definition, but are already licensed under a selective or additional scheme, will be transferred onto the new scheme at no cost to the landlord.
It is estimated that the extension of mandatory HMO licensing will bring a further 177,000 properties – in addition to the existing 60,000 – under compulsory licensing.
Around 20,000 HMOs already licensed under selective or additional licensing schemes will be transferred into mandatory HMO licensing automatically.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has also confirmed that, subject to Parliamentary approval, landlords with properties that meet the new criteria for mandatory HMO licensing will be required to submit an application by 1st October 2018, representing a seven-month informal period to become compliant.
Landlords who fail to apply for licences by 1st October will be committing a criminal offence from that date. Licences granted under the new definition will not come into force before 1st October.
Local authorities have a duty to raise awareness of the changes and to accept applications in advance of this date. To help them in this, the Government will soon by publishing guidance targeted at local authorities, but also useful for landlords, to help everyone understand the new requirements.
As per the Government’s response to the licensing consultation in January, further regulations setting out new mandatory licence conditions are also expected.
The Government will introduce mandatory conditions stipulating the minimum size of rooms that may be used for sleeping in licensed HMOs.
A mandatory condition will also be brought into force that requires the licence holder to comply with their local authority scheme (if any) for the provision of facilities for the proper disposal and storage of domestic refuse.
We will keep you up to date with all of the developments to licensing conditions at Landlord News.