Most landlords are not aware of the HMO rules

Mortgage Trust’s latest survey reveals that 46% of landlords are not aware of the houses in multiple occupation regulations due to come into effect in April next year.

Of those landlords who are aware of the licensing requirements, 44% became aware as a result of media coverage while 22% found out about the requirements through their own research.

Local authorities are responsible for implementing many of the rules but are the least cited source of information about HMOs. Just 12% have been informed by their local authority.

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

But there is evidence that the implementation of HMO licensing may create upward pressure on rents. Some 48% of landlords with HMOs in their portfolios say it might be necessary to raise rents to cover the costs of ensuring their properties are compliant with the rules.

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

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

“But our survey 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 effective source of information for landlords.

“The trouble is, local authorities are going to play an important part in the implementation of HMO regulation and they must take more responsibility for increasing awareness among landlords.”