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New HMO rules: landlords need licence today

New rules for landlords who rent out houses in multiple occupation came into effect on 1 October, and the government has announced that landlords need their licences sorted from today.

Under the new regime, landlords who rent a single property to five or more people from at least two separate households who share basic facilities, such as a bathroom or kitchen, must ensure that they possess an HMO licence – regardless of how many storeys the property comprises.

The rules also detail minimum sizes for bedrooms and a requirement for having suitable space to store rubbish outside.

It is estimated that due to this rule change, a further 170,000 properties will be added to the HMO roster – currently there are approximately 60,000.

The government advises landlords to speak to their council about getting a licence if they do not already have one as soon as possible, “or they could face enforcement action.” The application process will include the landlord having to prove to the council that they are “fit and proper,” and that the property reaches minimum standards.

Housing minister Heather Wheeler MP says: “Everyone renting a home has the right to expect it is maintained to a decent standard.

“Extending licensing to 170,000 more properties will ensure people benefit from better quality accommodation across the country.”

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