Date Published 22 September 2018
Letting agents need to be aware of the October 1st deadline when the rules on mandatory HMO licensing will change across England. There hasn't been a government campaign to raise awareness amongst agents & landlords despite the possibility of large penalties.
Properties of 3 or more stories shared by 5 or more people (in 2 or more households) where the kitchen & bathroom are shared must now have a HMO license. On October 1st the ‘storeys' criteria is going to be removed & any property of any height that meets the other criteria must be licensed.
What agents may not know is that there is an important exemption; purpose-built flats within a block containing 3 or more self-contained flats are excluded from the requirement. Nothing from the housing ministry has explained this or other new HMO rules & yet the penalties are potentially severe enough to close a business down.
A HMO that isn't licensed when the law requires it could land the agent/landlord or both with a criminal prosecution and record, an unlimited fine & an order to pay court costs and a victim surcharge. The council could issue a civil penalty of up to £30,000 & a rent repayment order of up to 12 months rental income.