The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has issued new guidance for houses in multiple occupation which takes effect from 1 October 2018.
What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)?
It's a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from 1 ‘household’ (e.g. a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. It’s sometimes called a ‘house share’.
You must usually have a licence to rent out a HMO, especially a large HMO in England and Wales. This is where:
- it’s rented to 5 or more people who form more than 1 household;
- it’s at least 3 storeys high;
- tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.
From 1 October 2018 the 3 storey element is being removed. This means that any HMO occupied by 5 or more individuals (not related to each other) will require an HMO licence.
The changes also provide for new minimum sleeping room sizes, including:
- 6.51 m2 for one person over 10 years of age;
- 10.22 m2 for two persons over 10 years of age;
- 4.64 m2 for one child under the age of 10 years.
In addition, all HMO licences issued in England after 1 October 2018 will need to include a condition requiring the compliance with the council’s storage and waste disposal scheme (where relevant). A licence holder’s failure to comply with the scheme is a breach of the licence and a criminal offence.
If you are a landlord with a relevant HMO, it's advisable to contact your local authority to discuss the new requirements and possibly obtaining a new licence.
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Following legislation introduced last month, from 1 October 2018 any landlord who lets a property to 5 or more people – from 2 or more separate households – must be licensed by their local housing authority. The move, affecting around 160,000 houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), will mean councils can take further action to crack down on the small minority of landlords renting out sub-standard and overcrowded homes.