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HMO Licensing change

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.