HMO and residential property licensing reforms | CPS Homes

HMO and residential property licensing reforms - England only... for now

CPS Homes - HMO SpecialistsYou may have heard about the recent reforms on HMO and residential property licensing in England.

While these changes currently only apply in England, it’s worth knowing about – particularly as there’s a chance that Wales could follow suit in the future.

Last year the government published a technical discussion paper on extending the mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMO). These reforms are designed to increase the number of rental properties that will be subject to mandatory licensing. In brief, the aims of the proposal are:

  • To remove the ‘storey rule’ so all houses with 5 or more people from 2 or more households are in scope
  • Extend mandatory licensing to flats above and below business premises (regardless of storeys)
  • Set a minimum size of 6.52sq-m for one person (or 1023sqm for two) derived from the overcrowding standard in the Housing Act 1985. This is seeking to close a perceived issue created by an upper-tier tribunal ruling in Manchester City Council v Clark.

These reforms are expected to come into force in April 2017. While the new room size standards will not apply to existing licences that have already been granted, they will come into force when they are renewed.

There will be a grace period of 6 months for landlords who do not currently have a licence to apply for a license. Those landlords who already have a licence (because their local authority has an additional licensing scheme in force) will be transferred to the new scheme automatically.

However, it is important to note that buy-to-let home owners who fail to comply with the new legislation will face criminal prosecutions and new civil penalties of up to £30,000 at the end of the 6-month grace period.

We hope that this brief summary of these changes will be of service to you. As Cardiff’s largest lettings agent, we at CPS Homes strive to keep you up to speed on all aspects of property management. If you’d like to discuss anything relating to buying, selling, renting or investing in property, please contact our friendly team today on 02920 668585 or pop into one of our Cardiff offices in Cathays, Roath or Cardiff Bay.

19 December 2016

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