RLA criticises Government’s plans for HMO licence changes

The Government has been urged to control its plans to change how licences are granted to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

A Westminster-led consultation highlighted a proposal that would increase the level of licensing needed, which could result in hundreds of thousands of additional properties requiring a HMO licence.

Following the news, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has recommended that the Government does not make its proposed changes.

The RLA has asked for no changes to HMO thresholds; a definition of HMOs that is easy to understand; and suggested that a licence should be granted immediately if a councils does not assess an application within the stipulated timeframe.

As part of its response to Government plans, the RLA has also called for there to be no minimum national room size in place, while also highlighting that HMO licences should not be a requirement for any properties below three-storeys in height.

Under current legislation, properties that are three or more storeys high and have five or more occupants from two or more households, with communal kitchen and bathroom facilities, have to have a HMO licence.

However, the new plans means that licensing could become the norm for properties with five or more people regardless of its proportions.

Furthermore, minimum size requirements for single and double rooms could also be introduced if the proposals go ahead.

David Smith, RLA’s policy director, said: “The consultation documents assume that maintaining the status quo is not an option. If this is the case the RLA is asking that any changes to existing legislation are kept to an absolute minimum.

“Local authorities already struggle to enforce the current mandatory licensing requirements and in the face of further budget savings their ability to police an extension that will bring hundreds of thousands of homes into the regime is questionable.”

 

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Nigel is the Managing Partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in the London office of Mackrell Turner Garrett.