Time is running out for landlords to apply for shared house licences in England under new legislation that starts from October 1.
Around 160,000 houses in multiple occupation in England need a licence under the new rules even though they fall outside of the current regulations.
Landlords who have not applied for a new licence by September 30 could face criminal prosecution and fines of up to £30,000.
The rule change scraps the current ‘three storey’ rule for a mandatory HMO licence and changes the definition for a home needing a licence to one where five or more residents who are not all related to one another share kitchen and bathroom facilities.
The new rules also come with two other changes for licensed property:
- Minimum bedroom sizes are revised – rooms for a single adult must measure at least 6.51 square metres and those for two adults must have a floor area of at least 10.22 square metres.
- Bedrooms for children under 10 are slightly smaller at 4.64 square metres.
The other change makes landlords responsible for providing bins and storage for household waste.
Licence costs vary between councils – the cheapest are around £500 for a five-year licence, while the most expensive are around £1,500.
The new HMO laws are aimed at tackling overcrowding in private rented homes by matching licences to numbers of tenants taking up sleeping space.
No period of grace is available for licence applications, although councils will allow time for landlords to convert bedrooms.
Licence applications should be made to the council in the place where the HMO is located.