Landlords who run houses of multiple occupation without a licence could now be fined up to £30,000.
Telford & Wrekin Council has begun searching for landlords who are breaching a new law around the running and managing of HMOs.
The change came into place on October 1 last year, meaning that any rented property with five or more people living as two or more households now requires a licence.
Previously, only HMOs that had three or more storeys with five or more people required a licence, but that is no longer the case.
It means all HMOs falling under this new definition have to have a licence by law.
Other rule changes brought in by central government also mean new minimum room sizes apply to properties and a requirement to comply with the local refuse rules.
Landlords who renew their licenses will have to adhere to new enhanced conditions.
Last year, Telford & Wrekin Council, which is issues the licences, gave prior warning of the law change and advice on what to do.
After October 1, it granted landlords a further period of grace for applications. The council’s officers were out earlier this month and found a number of unlicensed properties. It is now warning HMO landlords who have not licensed their properties that they may face enforcement action.
Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for housing and enforcement, said: “We gave landlords plenty of warning before the new law came into force last October, then we gave them extra time to help them get their heads around the new rules, complete a DBS check and submit their applications.
“Now our officers will start to investigate those who haven’t licensed and, where they find a property that should have been licensed but wasn’t, action may be taken against the landlord. Anyone found to be operating and/or managing a House in Multiple Occupation can be prosecuted or issued with a fixed penalty notice of up to £30,000.”
By Mat Growcott
Source: Shropshire Star