Licensing changes to tackle poor housing conditions
Important local housing update for private landlords & tenants, via North Somerset Council News:
Changes in national housing legislation designed to improve standards in privately rented properties come into effect in North Somerset later this year.
Houses in multiple occupation, known as HMOs, are properties where people from different households are living and sharing facilities such as a kitchen and/or bathroom.
Under current legislation only properties shared by five or more people, from two or more households, and that are at least three storeys high need to have an HMO licence.
However, from October 1 2018, HMO licensing rules in England are changing to include properties of any size such as two storey houses, bungalows and self-contained flats.
Landlords need to apply for an HMO licence and can do so online. Operating an HMO without a licence could face prosecution or a fine of up to £30,000.
Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, deputy leader and executive member with responsibility for housing, said:
“We welcome this change in government legislation as we continue to work hard to improve property standards in the private rented sector.
“We know many landlords provide privately rented accommodation of a very high quality. However some landlords do very little to maintain and improve their properties. Poor housing conditions can impact on tenants’ health and wellbeing, and also affects the wider community.
“Any property of any size that is rented to five or more people from two or more different households – whether that’s families, cohabiting couples or separate individuals – and who are sharing amenities must have an HMO licence from October.
“This means the property will have to meet licensing conditions and minimum standards and fire safety protocols, ultimately helping to improve the quality of housing for tenants living in these privately rented properties.
“Unfortunately we have seen an increase in complaints of overcrowding in smaller properties which have needed to involve our colleagues in the Police and even Immigration to tackle concerns so it’s important we have adequate legislation to improve the management and conditions of these smaller HMOs.”
Landlords can apply for an HMO licence online and find out more at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/hmolicence.