The importance of HMO licensing registration

Condemned photo by sunchild123 on FlickrCities with a high student population feature plenty of HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) properties that offer an alternative to university-owned accommodation. A HMO is a property occupied by at least three tenants not from the same household sharing bathroom, kitchen or toilet facilities, and they are particularly popular with students choosing off-campus accommodation.

Landlords of HMO properties have additional responsibilities, which include guaranteeing proper fire safety measures are in place - including smoke detectors in communal areas and an additional heat detector in the kitchen - ensuring that gas checks are performed annually and that the electricity is checked every five years, and making sure that the property is not overcrowded. Furthermore, certain properties require a HMO license before they can be rented out - this is the case for houses shared by 5 or more tenants, places that are 3 or more storeys high, and HMO in the Cathays area (and in the Plasnewydd/Roath area from November). A failure to uphold any one of these duties is a criminal offence and is liable to an unlimited fine.

In shared accommodation? Your landlord may need a licence!

The regulation of HMO licensing ensures that any landlords who put their tenant’s lives at risk are discovered and prosecuted, and examples of such prosecutions are aplenty:

  • A landlord in Leamington was fined £50,000 for potentially risking the lives of his tenants through his failure to license and properly manage three properties. He was found guilty of serious breaches of management and fire safety regulations, including a disabled fire alarm system, the partial blocking of escape routes and stairwells, and an inadequate fire separation from commercial property (which was of particular concern as the accommodation was above a food premises).
  • Oxford City Council prosecuted and fined a landlord over £2,400 for inadequate light fittings, for not having a bannister installed on the staircase, and for failing to display notices designating the correct exits in the event of a fire.
  • Following an inspection, a rogue London landlord was fined £10,000 upon the discovery of damaged fire doors, broken windows, a faulty fire alarm and evidence of mice and cockroaches.

Trust a professional, licensed lettings agents

At CPS Homes, we’re proud to be Cardiff’s biggest provider of HMO properties. We were the first agent in the Welsh capital to become accredited with Landlord Accreditation Wales, a scheme providing accreditation based on standards of knowledge and professionalism within the sector. As a result, you can expect CPS Homes to provide high quality student properties that meet the needs of any and every kind of student, and tenants can be safe in the knowledge that the way we work is tried, tested and continuously reviewed in order to stay on top of any changes in legislation and practices.

As HMO specialists, we offer accommodation you can trust, owned by fully accredited and regulated landlords. We also work with Cardiff Council on all aspects of HMO licensing to ensure that our tenants are occupying safe properties that comply with health and safety regulations, and that landlords work in accordance with subscribed codes of practice. We have over ten years of experience in student accommodation and have remained dedicated to building a young and vibrant team with personal experience of living as a student in Cardiff. We understand that studying at university can be both an incredibly exciting and an increasingly demanding experience, which is why it is important to know what to look out for when viewing a property.

We offer a vast array of properties available to let both in the heart of the city centre and in more student-centric areas such as Cathays and Roath. If you’re looking to rent a property then don’t hesitate to contact us at any of our three Cardiff offices and let us help you find your ideal student home.

20 August 2014


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