Changes to HMO regulations

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From the 1st of October 2018 mandatory HMO licensing in England is changing.

Here are the key points:

  • The three storey rule is being scrapped
  • Landlords who fall under the new regulations must apply for a license by October 1st
  • Minimum room sizes are being introduced

What this means…

Scrapping the three storey rule

The requirement for a property to have three storeys to need a license is being scrapped. That means any HMO occupied by 5 or more individuals (who aren’t all related) will need a licence. This occupation requirement isn’t changing.

Applying for a license

Landlords of HMOs that fall under the new definition must apply for a license (or temporary exemption) by the 1st of October 2018. If they don’t they’ll be committing a criminal offence.

The government originally announced there would be a grace period of sixth months but that isn’t happening now. All landlords affected must apply for a licence by the 1st of October 2018.

If your property is already licensed under mandatory or additional licensing then your existing licence applies until its expiry date. The new minimum room size requirements will apply from the renewal of your licence.

Minimum rooms sizes

From the 1st of October 2018, local housing authorities must also impose minimum
bedroom sizes for the HMO. Any room smaller than the specified size mustn’t be used as a bedroom.

The minimum bedroom sizes are:

  • 6.51 m2 for one person over 10 years of age
  • 10.22 m2 for two people over 10 years of age
  • 4.64 m2 for one child under the age of 10
  • Any area of the room with a ceiling height less than 1.5m can’t be counted
    towards the minimum room size.

It’s important to note these are statutory minimum sizes, not the optimal room size.

Local housing authorities must give landlords time to comply with the new room size standards. The maximum period they can specify is 18 months, but a local authority can choose to shorten this.

To get started with your HMO licence application follow this link.

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HMOs don’t work in Newark On Trent

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“HMOs don’t work in Newark On Trent” said a large franchise owner to a lady that is looking at buying her first investment property. This lady popped into the office for a chat about a small HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) that we sent out last week. I laughed when she told me what the other letting agency had told her as I had just (yesterday) filled the last room at a 5 bed property that will generate £30,420 in rent before running costs etc.

In the past two years the number of licensed HMOs in Newark has doubled but there are still only 25 or so in the area. Most of these are good quality which is pleasing to see and as competition rises these are the ones which should achieve the highest occupancy rates. Before you rush out and buy a big house and fill it with furniture there is a lot more to consider when deciding upon a HMO strategy. This is probably why other agents believe that “HMOs don’t work” because they haven’t been running them correctly.

Now don’t get me wrong there are no magic tricks or hidden secrets but it is about doing a good job and making sure you are catering for the market you are wanting to attract. Quite logical, don’t you think? I’m not going to share on here our strategy as other agents read this but I am more than happy to chat this through and give you my advice over a hot chocolate from Cafe Amore (and if you buy me one with the raspberry syrup I might just marry you).

PS. Hat’s off if you recognise the photo. The Young Ones was an 80’s TV show depicting life in a student flat (HMO).

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