Deadline Looms for Landlords to Apply for HMO Licences

LANDLORDS of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) who have not yet registered their property with Reading Borough Council have until the end of the month to do so.

New government rules introduced last October increased the number of properties required to comply with HMO regulations.

Any landlords of properties requiring a licence who have not submitted their application by the end of January will face enforcement action by the Council.

All the information on whether a property is licensable can be found on the Council’s website along with other relevant information and the application form: http://www.reading.gov.uk/hmo.

Previously, properties had to be licensed as HMOs if they were three or more storeys and occupied by five or more people forming two or more households, and where there was some sharing of amenities.

The new regulations state that a licence is required for HMOs of any size, where there are five or more people forming two or more households and where there is some sharing of amenities – thereby removing the three-storey criteria.

The rules also say that flats in multiple occupation where there are five or more people forming two or more households in a block comprising up to two flats will be licensable. A purpose built flat occupied by five or more people in a block comprising three or more flats will not need a licence. This means mandatory licensing will apply to purpose-built flats such as those above shops but will not apply to purpose built blocks of flats such as tower blocks.

Cllr John Ennis, Lead Councillor for Housing, said:

“The new regulations for HMOs have resulted in a number of landlords in Reading requiring a licence for the first time.

“The Council has allowed landlords affected by the changes several months to register their properties but if they have failed to do so by the end of January they can expect to face enforcement action.

“I would urge any landlords who have not already done so, to check the new regulations and take action immediately if they are required to apply for a licence.”

Fees are charged for new HMO licences which are usually valid for five years and these can be found on the Council website. Licence renewals are charged at a reduced rate.

Details of the new regulations and forms to apply for an HMO licence can be found at http://www.reading.gov.uk/hmo.

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Council has welcomed the introduction of the Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licence) (England) Regulations 2018 as it will enable officers to:

•             Check whether the landlord is a fit and proper person to manage the property

•             Assess the standard of management of the property, including fire safety

•             Carry out physical inspections of the property

•             Assess room sizes and facilities

•             Set conditions to ensure tenants have the landlord’s details and know the maximum number of tenants allowed

David Millward

For media enquiries about this release email david.millward@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 4289