Government consultation on HMOs and residential property licensing reforms
The Government put out a consultation, ending on 13th December, seeking views on licensing of HMOs and related reforms. It covers:
1. Extending the scope of mandatory HMO licensing
2. National minimum room sizes in licensed HMOs
3. Impact assessment
4. Fit and proper test
5. Refuse disposal facilities
6. Purpose built student housing
The Government plans to make the following changes to increase the number of properties subject to mandatory licensing. It will:
● Remove the storey rule so all houses (regardless of how many floors) with 5 or more people from 2 or more households are in scope – this will further enable local authorities to tackle poor standards, migration and the problems being seen in high risk smaller properties as the sector has grown;
● Extend mandatory licensing to flats above and below business premises (regardless of the number of storeys) – as the evidence shows more problems in these properties; and
● Set a minimum room size of 6.52sq-m in line with the existing overcrowding standard (Housing Act 1985) to close a loophole recently created by an upper-tier tribunal ruling which is enabling some landlords to let rooms far too small for an adult to legally occupy.
The paper is broken down as follows:
● Chapters 1 and 2: Explain and invite comments on the details of those proposals and in particular ask specific questions concerning the proposed secondary legislation.
● Chapter 3: Seeks comments on the Impact Assessment.
● Chapter 4: Seeks views on a number of measures not included in the technical discussion paper, some of which were raised following discussions on that paper. These are: the evidential basis for determining “fit and proper”; refuse disposal in licensed properties; and the treatment of certain types of student accommodation.
● Chapter 5: Explains the measures relating to licensing and overcrowding introduced by the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
Click on the icon below to read the full consultation.