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Mandatory HMO Licensing Part 2: New conditions

From 1 October the extended Mandatory HMO Licensing scheme will include two new conditions. New minimum bedroom sizes and rules for the disposal of waste. Here’s what you need to know.

As well as expanding the mandatory HMO licensing scheme, there are new conditions within the licence regarding the size of bedrooms and waste disposal which also come into effect on 1 October. If you already have a current licence, the rules don’t apply until it expires. Here’s what you need to know.

Introduction of Minimum Bedroom Sizes

In a bid to tackle over-crowding in HMOs, from 1 October, local housing authorities will have to impose minimum sizes for bedrooms (or ‘sleeping rooms’ as they are called in the government’s guidance document). Landlords applying for a new mandatory HMO licence from 1 October won’t be able to let a bedroom if it doesn’t meet the minimum requirement. And they won’t be able to use communal space within the HMO to make up for a bedroom that is deemed too small.

Remember, if you’ve got a current licence, you won’t need to comply with this rule until the licence expires. (And in some instances, you may be given a further 18 months to comply – check with your local authority).

WHAT IS THE MINIMUM BEDROOM SIZE?

The answer will depend upon your local authority! The new rules set three statutory minimum sizes, but the local authority is given discretion to increase these if they see fit! So, it’s very important that you check with your local housing authority.


Statutory sizes

The rules on the statutory minimum bedroom sizes are quite clear: You won’t be able to let sleeping room if it is less than 4.64m2 and that’s just to children under the age of 10. There are two further statutory minimum size requirements which depend on age and number of occupants. Firstly, for a single occupant over the age of 10 years, the bedroom must be at least 6.51m2. Secondly, if the bedroom is occupied by two people over the age of 10 it must be at least 10.22m2.

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

No. sleeping Age Minimum Bedroom Size
1 Over 10 years  6.51m2
2 Over 10 years  10.22m2
1 Under 10 years 4.64m2

 
What’s more, landlords will have to tell the local authority about any room in the HMO with a floor area less than this minimum!


HOW LOCAL AUTHORITIES CHECK MINIMUM ROOM SIZES


They will either request the information on the mandatory licence application form and/or they may choose to inspect the property.


PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE

If you breach the rules, without a reasonable excuse, you could be convicted of a criminal offence for which the fine could be unlimited. Alternatively, if the local authority chooses not to prosecute, you could receive a fine of up to £30,000. Either way, it’s simply not worth the risk.


WHAT NOW?

If you already have a mandatory, selective or additional HMO licence, you won’t need to comply until it expires. Hopefully, this will give you time to measure the bedrooms in your HMOs and plan a course of action if necessary. We always recommend that you talk to your local housing authority if you think your property might not be compliant with the new rules.


NEED FINANCE ALTER YOUR HMO?

If you need to undertake work to your HMO in order to comply with the new minimum bedroom sizes, it’s likely that you’ll need to raise some funds to get the job done. You may be able to raise the necessary finance in a variety of ways, eg:

Personal unsecured loan
Talk to your bank and/or research the option on a comparison shopping site

A loan secured on the HMO or your home
Raising finance on your home is likely to be cheaper than on the HMO but the best option for you will depend on a variety of factors and your specific circumstances. The options are likely to include a further advance, remortgaging, a second charge mortgage or even a bridging loan (although this would be more expensive).

Give us a call if you would like to discuss the possibilities on 0345 345 6788.

Waste Disposal

This new rule is quite simple! 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 – if it has one. This is because HMOs typically produce more rubbish than single family homes and the government wants to ensure that it is disposed of properly.

Whilst every council is different you are likely to be required 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 and ensure the bins aren’t obstructing the pavement.

Do check with your local council for details of their specific scheme. If not, the above guidance is a good rule of thumb.

 

In part one of this blog series, I covered how the Mandatory HMO Licensing scheme is being extended.

Read part one here
Even if a property does not require a Mandatory Licence, it may still need a licence!

If you have any further questions regarding financing requirements we are happy to help. Our consultants are available to contact Monday to Friday 8:30 to 6pm. Let us know how we can help:

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NB: ANY PROPERTY USED AS SECURITY, WHICH MAY INCLUDE YOUR HOME, MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE

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