New room sizes for HMOs?

New room sizes for HMOs?

In an attempt to reduce problems of overcrowding, the government has announced new minimum space requirements for Houses in multiple occupation (HMO’s) in the private rental sector.

This follows the governments post-Christmas 2017 announcement that it wants landlords in England who let properties to five or more people from at least two different families to be licensed.

Currently national mandatory licensing criteria only applies if properties are three or more storeys, but this change to legislation would see flats and one and two-story properties brought within its scope.

Expected to come into law this Spring following a govt. consultation which received 395 responses, the new minimum room size for HMO’s proposals are:

  • 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.
  • Rooms slept in by children of 10 years and younger will have to be no smaller than 4.64 square metres.
  • The HMO licence must specify the maximum number of persons (if any) who may occupy any room and the total number across the different rooms must be the same as the number of persons for whom the property is suitable to live in.

In a statement accompanying the proposals, the Department of Communities and Local Government said: “The increased demand for HMOs has been exploited by opportunist rogue landlords, who feel the business risks for poorly managing their accommodation are outweighed by the financial rewards. 

“Typical poor practices include: overcrowding, poor management of tenant behaviour, failure to meet the required health and safety standards, housing of illegal migrants and intimidation of tenants when legitimate complaints are made. 

Tenants are sometimes exploited and local communities blighted through, for example, rubbish not being properly stored, excessive noise or anti-social behaviour. Although only a minority of landlords the impacts of their practices are disproportionate, putting safety and welfare of tenants at risk and adversely affecting local communities. 

“They cause much reputational harm to the HMO market and it is often pot luck whether a vulnerable tenant ends up renting from a rogue or a good landlord.” 

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Author: News @ Tenant Referencing

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