Changes to HMO Legislation

Posted On: 16 Oct 2018

Mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) came into force in 2006.   Originally it applied to properties of three storeys and upwards, with five or more people making up two or more separate households living in them. There are already 60,000 licensed HMO properties in existence and licensing has largely been successful in helping to drive up standards and make them safer places to live in.

New regulations which are effective from the 1st October 2018 will introduce mandatory licensing to all HMOs.  The legislation is likely to affect existing lets that are licensed as HMOs, and plans to introduce a new minimum room sizing.  These changes will result in properties that previously didn’t require an HMO license, will now require one.

The changes at a glance:

Minimum room standards

  • It will be mandatory for an HMO license to include a condition stating the maximum number of persons who may occupy each specific room in a property as sleeping accommodation. As of the 1st of October, landlords will have to stop letting rooms that fall below the nationally prescribed standard
  • Landlords won’t be able to let rooms to a single adult where the usable floor space is less than 6.51sqm, and 10.22sqm for a room occupied by two adults
  • Rooms under 4.64sqm can’t be used for sleeping accommodation
  • Any area of the room in which the ceiling height is less than 1.5m cannot be counted towards the minimum room size
  • If Landlords fail to comply, they will be in breach of the license conditions, and could be prosecuted by the local authority or receive a civil penalty under the Housing and Planning Act 2016

HMO Definition

  • Rather than properties having to have three stories before they require a license, the definition for licensed properties, is any property which is occupied by five or more people, forming two or more separate households – if the landlord does have a HMO licence under the current definition they do not need to reapply for a licence until their existing licence expires.

Properties licensed after 1st October 2018

  • If a landlord currently lets an HMO which didn’t previously require a license, but will do after the new legislation comes into place, they will need to apply for a license through the local council
  • An important exception is if, the property is in a purpose-built block of flats comprising three or more units

Should you require assistance with regards to a refurbishment loan in order to bring a property to the standards required by the new HMO legislation, contact our expert advisors today to see how we can assist in helping you find the right funding.