Houses in Multiple Occupation and residential property licensing reforms

December 6, 2016Tags: Landlords | regulations | lettings | buy-to-let | legislation
Students relaxing on the sofa

StudentsIndividual landlords are being asked to have their say!

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has launched a consultation on 'Houses in Multiple Occupation and residential property licensing reforms', which runs until the 13th December 2016. It plans to make the following changes through secondary legislation in order to increase the number of properties that are subject to mandatory licensing.


The proposed legislation will only affect properties in England.

The HMO proposals include: 

  • Remove the story rule so all houses (regardless of how many floors) with five or more people from two or more households are in scope - this will further enable local authorities to tackle poor standards, migration and the problems being seen in high risk smaller properties as the sector has grown;
  • Extend mandatory licensing to flats above and below business premises (regardless of the number of storeys) as the evidence shows more problems in these properties; and 
  • Set a minimum room size of 6.52sq-m in line with the existing overcrowding standard (Housing Act 1985) to close a loophole recently created by an upper-tier tribunal ruling which is enabling some landlords to let rooms far too small for an adult to legally occupy

Other intended measures are:

  • Requiring landlords of shared homes to provide decent storage and refuse disposal facilities
  • Landlords may also be subject to the new fit and proper person test (The Housing and Planning Act 2016)

The order is proposed to come into force in 2017 and where a landlord fails to obtain a licence they will find themselves at risk of penalties including criminal prosecutions. E.g. If a landlord lets a room that is too small for the number of occupants, they will be in breach of the licence and subject to a fine of up to £30,000.

A property today which is not subject to mandatory licensing could be in the future.

Have your say:

Complete the Government's consultation document before 13 December 2016. Have your say complete the online survey here > ‚Äčor by emailing your responses to the questions.

You can read the full consultation paper here >

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