The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published new guidance for landlords of HMOs – setting out minimum bedroom sizes.
These new rules – which come into effect from October 1 – state that single bedrooms must be at least 6.51 m2, with double bedrooms a minimum size of 10.22m2.
For children under the age of 10 a single bedroom has to be a minimum size of 4.64m2.
These new rules state that it will be a mandatory condition that any room of less than 4.64m2 cannot be used as sleeping accommodation. Landlords will be required to notify the local housing authority if their property has any room that is below this size.
This latest guidance follows a change in the rules which requires landlords who let a property to five or more people (from at least two households) to gain a licence from their local authority.
Currently, a licence is only required for properties with three of more storeys that are occupied by five (or more) people from at least two households. This size requirement will no longer apply.
According to the Residential Landlords Association this change will bring a further 177,00 people under these HMO rules.
All these ‘new’ and existing HMO landlords will have to meet these new minimum requirements.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said these new rules were designed to prevent overcrowding and ensure minimum standards were met.
Landlords will also be required to adhere to council refuse schemes to reduce problems with rubbish. Those breaching these new rules could be subject to unlimited fines.
Housing minister Heather Wheeler says: “This new guidance will further protect private renters against bad and overcrowded conditions and poor management practice.”
The Government has also announced a review to look at how selective landlord licensing is being used, and how it is performing
In areas where selective licensing applies, landlords must apply for a licence if they want to rent out a property. This means the council can check whether they are a “fit and proper” person, as well as making other stipulations concerning management of the property and appropriate safety measures.
The review will see independent commissioners gather evidence form local authorities as well as bodies representing landlords, tenants and housing professionals. It will report next spring.