Landlords not aware of HMO rules, says Mortgage Trust

Mortgage Trusts latest survey reveals that 46% of landlords are not aware of the Houses in Multiple Occupation regulations due to come into effect in April 2006.

Of those landlords who were aware of the licensing requirements, 44.2% became aware as a result of media coverage of the regulations whilst 21.6% of landlords became aware of HMO licensing requirements through their own research.

Local authorities are responsible for implementing many of the rules and were the least cited source of information about HMOs. 11.8% of the landlords surveyed had been informed via their local authority.

Landlords who are aware of the HMO regulations are adopting a responsible approach to the forthcoming changes, and of those landlords with properties that are classified as HMOs, almost 40% are confident that they already meet the requirements of the rules.

However, there is evidence that the implementation of HMO licensing may create upward pressure on rents. 48% of landlords with HMOs in their portfolios say that it may be necessary to increase rents to cover the cost of ensuring that their properties were compliant with the rules.

65% of those landlords with HMOs in their portfolios say that they arrange their lettings using one agreement per property rather than using an individual agreement for each unrelated tenant.

Nicola Severn, marketing manager at Mortgage Trust, says: The good news is that a significant proportion of those landlords who are aware of the HMO regulations and who own HMOs already comply with regulations.

“However, our survey also highlights some cause for concern. A large number of landlords are totally unaware of the regulations, and media coverage has so far proved the most prolific source of information for landlords.

“However, local authorities are going to play an important part in the implementation of HMO regulation and they need to take a greater responsibility for increasing awareness among landlords.