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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    New HMO licensing guidance published

    Hi,

    The government has just published new guidance that helps to explain the changes to mandatory HMO licensing that come into force across England on 1 October 2018. Some issues worth noting:

    • Almost all HMOs occupied by five or more people will need licensing from 1 October - an estimated 160,000 properties across England. That's over 2,000 applications each and every day until the changes come into force!
    • The government have confirmed that failure to apply by 1 October 2018 will be a criminal offence. Don't take the risk and get your application in on time.
    • The government have made clear that council's should be promoting the licensing changes and need to start accepting and processing licence applications before 1 October. Has your council website been updated yet?
    • The transitionary arrangements have been confirmed. If a property with an existing additional or selective licence falls within the new mandatory HMO licensing criteria, no action will be needed until the licence comes up for renewal.
    • New absolute minimum bedroom sizes will be applied to all mandatory HMO and additional licences approved or renewed on or after 1 October.
    • While there is a new waste disposal licence condition, government have made clear their view that councils should be offering a free waste collection service for HMOs.

    If you want more information, I've published a more in-depth article that you can view here:

    http://www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk...-licensing

    Regards

    Richard

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    Richard Tacagni MCIEH CEnvH

    Managing Director

    London Property Licensing

    Email: Richard@londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    This information is intended as general advice and guidance. It is not legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. No liability can be accepted for any reliance on the information published in this response. You may wish to obtain independent legal advice.

    So looks like many 5 person shared houses will be very soon reducing to 4 occupiers.

    No need for a HMO licence then and no conditions at all.

    I reckon the 5th occupier will be booted out and deleted off ER and CT records.

    The former tenant will just become a regular 'guest'.

    The former tenant sharers might even allow him as a guest to stay in the now vacant guest bedroom.

    Govt is deluding itself if it honestly believes LL are going to fall for this new HMO licensing.

    They will start noticing that people start coming off ER and CTax registers leaving only 4 occupiers.

    How are councils going to prove the fifth occupier staying at the property as a permanent 'guest' is actually a permanent occupier!?

    This will be one of the most widely evaded regulations ever.

    I await to see when a council can prove that a guest is indeed a permanent occupier??

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    Guest can pay but they must have a main address at another property (excluding full time students and most foreign nationals)

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    A good teacher must know the rules; a good pupil, the exceptions.

    Martin H. Fischer

    At what point do paying guests change the status of the property from HMO to short term let?

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    In simple terms the maximum continuous stay is 31 nights and the total nights per year is 140. Above 140 and the property is liable for business rates but from what I have read, not experienced, councils prefer to continue with council tax if it is only 1 room being let in a family sized house.

    The occupier still requires an alternative main address. Contractors requiring a Mon-Fri let or a 1 month let are good feasible examples.

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    A good teacher must know the rules; a good pupil, the exceptions.

    Martin H. Fischer


    Thanks Richard for this informative summary.

    Im still struggling with my properties in Hackney and Havering which contain self contained flats. I know in order for them NOT  to have to have a licence, they have to comply with 1991 Building Regs but establishing whether they do or don’t is the challenge. I’ve called surveyors who won’t even if paid, do a survey for me unless they’re working on the project from the beginning, which of course doesn’t apply. I’ve reached stalemate.

    There is a fully compliant fire detection system, emergency lighting, 30 min fire doors and floor and door separation, compliant room sizes etc.

    Sadly my husband passed away and when he refurbished the building it looks like, although he put all the above in place, there’s no building control applications that I can see.

    any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated


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    You might want to ask the Council's Building Control Department, the ones I have dealt with provide an hours consultation free of charge. They can then tell you what would be required for them to issue the necessary certificate.

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    We are coming up against issues with regards to Fire Safety.  2 storey houses aren't required to have fire panels etc under LACOR's we've checked with our local fire company who have in turn checked with the local fire brigade and they are saying that wired smoke alarms are the only thing required not fire panels.

    Councils requirements for a mandatory licensed HMO is fire panels and emergency lighting systems.

    Can anyone point us to where this has been changed in law as we haven't received any guidance from the council either.

    Thanks

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    Sandra Savage-Fisher


    Hi Sandra,

    The appropriate fire precautions for a property will be dependent on the use, layout and occupancy of a property. Whilst the number of storeys is one of the factors to consider, not all three storey HMOs require a high specification Grade A fire alarm system. The LACORS guidance, whilst 10 years old, remains a useful reference point and I'm pleased to say I oversaw the project group that developed the guidance all those years ago!

    Regarding licensing, it is not the case that an HMO that requires licensing must meet a higher fire safety standard. The licensing requirement is simply that the fire precautions are appropriate, which is the case will all HMOs whether licensable or not. If a council is imposing requirements that you consider are excessive, you are welcome to get in touch to discuss in more detail. 

    Regards

    Richard

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    Richard Tacagni MCIEH CEnvH

    Managing Director

    London Property Licensing

    Email: Richard@londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    This information is intended as general advice and guidance. It is not legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. No liability can be accepted for any reliance on the information published in this response. You may wish to obtain independent legal advice.


    Hi Richard

    Salford City Council have insisted on a 4 zone grade A system in a 6 bedroom hmo which is a converted terraced property.  the reason given was that the panel supplied didn't have zones on it and that was what was expected to be seen.  Although we have other similar licensed houses in Salford without zoned panels.  Fortunately we were able to assist the landlord in talking the council out of expecting an 8 zones panel.  What seems to be the problem is lack of training within the council as to what they should be looking for on licensing inspections.

    Thanks

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    Sandra Savage-Fisher