The Government has issued guidance for local authorities on the implementation of the HMO changes coming into force 1stOctober 2018.
On 1 October 2018 Mandatory licensing will apply to buildings with one or two storeys, occupied by five or more persons, from two or more separate households. We do not intend to detail the changes in the new Regulations in this post. Our previous detailed posts on the changes can be read here.
The guidance states that it is important for local authorities to make landlords aware of these new requirements. The Government expects local authorities to carry out active promotion of these new requirements. A suggestion is made that when communicating these changes local authorities may advertise in the local press or have dedicated pages on their website and further to provide guidance to landlords.
The guidance further states that local authorities will be under a duty to grant the licence if they are satisfied that:
(a) the house is reasonably suitable for occupation for the maximum number of households or persons specified in the application or decided by the authority (or that it can be made so suitable by the imposition of conditions);
(b) the proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to be the licence holder and is a fit and proper person to be the licence holder;
(c) the proposed manager of the house is the person having control of the house or an agent or employee of that person and is a fit and proper person to be the manager of the house; and
(d) the proposed management arrangements for the house are otherwise satisfactory.
Where a property will require a license under these new changes and the application is made prior to 1 October 2018, the period for which the licence is granted should begin on 1 October 2018. Where landlord already has some form of HMO license (selective or additional, for example), they will not be required to apply for a new licence under these changes where it applies, on or before 1 October 2018. Landlords will only be required to obtain a licence under these new requirements once their previous licence has expired.
When a landlord applies for a new licence under these changes they will only be granted a licence if they can satisfy the mandatory national minimum sleeping room sizes and waste disposal provision requirements. We will post separately on the details of the mandatory national minimum sleeping room sizes.
The local authority may request details of room sizes that are used as part of the HMO application process. The local authority may also decide to inspect such properties. The approach taken will be at the local authorities’ discretion taking into account department resources.
Mandatory conditions concerning the provision of suitable refuse storage facilities for HMO properties will also be imposed. This provision has been imposed because with separate and multiple households occupying properties, more waste is generated as compared to single family homes. However, despite this additional waste, the properties are still residential and should be provided with a comprehensive and frequent waste collection service which is free at the point of use. Local authorities will not be permitted to levy commercial waste charging or any other type of charges.
This guidance is a helpful summary of the new provisions coming into force and summarises the power of local authorities when implementing these new provisions. With that in mind this guidance while directed at local authorities is recommended reading for landlords of HMO properties too.