Agents and landlords are reminded that new rules about the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are set to come into force next month.
All properties housing five or more people from two or more separate households will be required to have an HMO licence, from Monday October 1.
At the moment, a property with five or more tenants from separate households only requires an HMO licence if it has three or more floors.
The new legislation – which was first announced in December – will also see minimum space requirements updated.
From October, the minimum bedroom space will be 6.51 square metres for a single bedroom and 10.22 square metres for rooms occupied by two adults. Rooms housing children aged ten or below will need to be a minimum size of 4.64 square metres.
Landlords will also be required to provide an adequate number of bins for their properties.
The cost of HMO licences varies depending on the local authority, with some charging a few hundred pounds and others charging more than £1,000.
An HMO licence is valid for five years and landlords need a separate licence for each HMO they let.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has said that the new rules are being introduced to minimise rogue landlords taking advantage of increased demand for HMOs.
It says that the previous system meant that it was ‘pot luck’ whether a vulnerable tenant ends up renting from a rogue or good landlord.
The aim of the new rules is to reduce consistent rental property problems, including overcrowding, failure to meet health and safety standards and housing illegal migrants.
Fines for non-compliance with HMO licensing rules are unlimited, while failure to comply with minimum bedroom sizes could see a landlord fined up to £30,000.
Source: Simple Landlords Insurance