Its about time we talked about HMOs we have some changes coming soon with (1) effecting multi-lets & (2) effecting all . I included (3) because many landlords dont know about this issue – many are certainly surprised when a mortgage is declined because of a kitchen.
1. More HMOs to require a licence!
Currently, you did not require an HMO Licence unless your property was at least three stories high (or in a selective licencing area).
From October 2018 this will change. Any property occupied by 5 or more unrelated people, or 2 or more families sharing facilities must have a licence.
The new requirement removes the “minimum stories” requirement.
If this refers to you then make sure you apply for your licence by October 2018 – there is no grace period. Do so or you will be in breach and may have “rent repayment orders” and other punitive measures.
2. Your bedrooms are too small!
Currently, Local authorities regulate room size in HMOs by relying on their discretionary powers to impose licence conditions.
The government has announced new minimum space requirements in a bid to reduce problems of overcrowding.
Rooms used for sleeping by one adult will have to be no smaller than 6.51 square metres, and those slept in by two adults will have to be no smaller than 10.22 square metres. (if a communal living room is supplied)
Landlords will have to meet the new requirements at application or renewal of existing licences.
Local Authorities can still have there own standards that are larger than the minimum.
3. It’s not just bedroom sizes!
To avoid overcrowding under Part X of the Housing Act 1985 there is consensus on other room sizes established by RICS.
Other Room sizes may make a property unmortgageable if it has more occupants than the minimum.
A kitchen for four persons needs to be 6m2, to 9m2 for six persons and 11m2 for ten persons.
When a room size is smaller, the surveyor will report back “The current configuration of the property has been assessed in accordance with the minimum room sizes and amenities published within the current RICS guidance.”
These minimums are subject to change due to Government looking to chance room sizes.