Mandatory HMO Licensing scheme is changing from Monday 1st October.

If you are a landlord with shared properties, the new changes may affect you.

Main Changes
1. Extension of Mandatory Licensing
2. Introduction of minimum room sizes
3. New rules for rubbish

Extension of Mandatory Licencing

What Properties are affected?
– Any property rented to FIVE or more people
– From two or more separate households
– Sharing basic amenities such as shared kitchen, bathroom lounge etc.
– Number of storeys are irrelevant (previously three or more storeys)

Are there any exclusions?
Yes. Even if the HMO meets the above criteria they may be excluded from mandatory licencing. E.G.
– Purpose-built, multi-occupancy flats in a block of 3 or more self-contained flats
– Converted blocks of flats classified as Section 257 HMOs.
(check with local authority for local rules re HMO licencing)

What Type of Licence is Required?
Most qualifying properties will require a Mandatory HMO licence, however local rules vary so check with the local authority to see if an Additional Licence or Selective Licence is required. If you already have an additional or selective licence, you do not need to reapply until the existing licence expires.

What do I need to do and when?
If your HMO requires a new Mandatory Licence under the new criteria you must:
– Apply to the local authority for a licence for each HMO BEFORE 1 OCTOBER 2018
– Failure to apply for a licence is a criminal offence, which may lead to criminal prosecution or a Local Authority fine of up to £30,000.

What else is changing from 1st October?

Introduction of minimum bedroom size

Why is a minimum bedroom size being introduced?
– To tackle over-crowding in HMOs,
– Under a new mandatory HMO licence from 1 October landlords cannot let a bedroom if it doesn’t meet the minimum requirement.
– Cannot use communal space within the HMO to make up for a bedroom that is deemed too small.
(If you have a current licence, you do not need to comply with this rule until the licence expires. The local authority can extend this period up to 18 months).

What is the minimum Bedroom size?

The new rules set three statutory minimum sizes, but your local authority has the discretion to increase these. Check with the local authority for clear guidance.

Statutory sizes
Firstly, any part of a bedroom with a ceiling height of less than 1.5m is discounted when measuring.

The following table shows the minimum sizes.
No of people Sleeping           Age                  Minimum Bedroom Size
1                        Over 10 years                  6.51m2
2                        Over 10 years                10.22m2
1                      Under 10 years                  4.64m2

It is the Landlords responsibility to tell the local authority about any room in the HMO with a floor area less than this minimum.

Local Authorities have the righto to inspect the property if they are not happy with the information provided on the Mandatory Licence Application.

I already have a Licence

– If you already have a mandatory, selective or additional HMO licence, you won’t need to comply until it expires.
– If in doubt about anything talk to your local housing authority, especially if you think your property might not be compliant with the new rules.

Do you need finance to pay for alterations to your property to comply with the new rules?

If you need to undertake work to your HMO to comply with the new minimum bedroom sizes, it is likely the local authority will give you some additional time to comply.

There are a number of options to consider when raising finance. If the property is in your own name this may include a Personal Unsecured Loan, or a loan secured on your home (1st or 2nd charge).

Alternatively, you may wish to raise funds against the investment property whether this is in your own name or in the name of a limited company. Again, this may be an unsecured loan or a secured loan against the property (1st or 2nd charge). The sooner you talk to your lender or a specialist in raising commercial finance, the better.

Please call me on 01482 635400 or click the link to and a member of the team will be in touch if you have any questions around HMO, student lets or standard Buy-to-Let property finance.

The other major change from Monday 1st October 2018 is around Waste Disposal

From 1 October 2018, a mandatory HMO licence will include the requirement for landlords to comply with the council’s storage and waste disposal scheme.

– HMOs typically produce more rubbish than single family homes
– government wants to ensure all waste is disposed of properly.

It is the Landlords responsibility to ensure:
– The HMO has sufficient waste disposal facilities inside and out
– The occupiers know what waste goes in which bin
– Which day to put out the rubbish
– Ensure the bins are not obstructing the pavement.

Check with your local council for details of their specific scheme.

If you would like to find out more about HMO or other Investment Property Finance please contact the team on 01482 635400 or to request a call back please click this link to take you to our contact form.