Bad landlords renting out substandard and overcrowded shared homes face a new crack down.
Housing minister Alok Sharma has declared war on rogue landlords who fail to look after the health and safety of tenants in houses of multiple occupation.
Currently, a house needs a mandatory licence if it’s 3 storeys or more and occupied by 5 people or more who are not all related. From April, this will change in England to remove the number of storeys element and so any house or flat with 5 or more occupiers (not all related) will require a HMO licence. In addition, local councils must impose minimum space rules on 500,000 shared homes. It’s expected local authorities will licence an extra 160,000 properties where five or more people live in two or more households.
The new measures will need approval from MPs.
Bedrooms for one adult must measure at least 6.51 square metres, while those for two adults should be no smaller than 10.22 square metres and rooms for children up to 10 years old must have an area of 4.64 square metres or more. It seems (although we await the regulations) that the minimum bedroom size refers to any HMO (3 or more people sharing not all related) and not just those that need a licence.
The new HMO licence will specify how many people can live in each bedroom and the total occupancy number put on a property will limit how many people can live in a home. The licence will also tell landlords which rooms cannot be used as bedrooms.
The rules will detail several criminal offences that will bar landlords from letting out shared homes.
Landlords must make sure their shared house tenants dispose of rubbish and follow council recycling rules.
“Every tenant has a right to a safe, secure and decent home. But far too many are being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who profit from providing overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes,” said Sharma
“Enough is enough and so I’m putting these rogue landlords on notice – shape up or ship out of the rental business.
“Through a raft of new powers, we are giving councils the further tools they need to crack down these rogue landlords and kick them out of the business for good.”