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Government moves to extend HMO licensing and ban some landlords 04/01/2018 Labelled as Consultation, Legislation

Housing Minister Alok Sharma has announced that, subject to parliamentary clearance, landlords renting properties in England occupied by 5 or more people, from 2 or more separate households will need to be licensed.


The announcement was made in response to consultation issued in October 2016 on Houses in Multiple Occupation and residential property licensing reforms.


There are around 4.3 million households in the private rented sector in England, with around 500,000 houses in multiple occupation (HMO's).


The current scheme of mandatory licensing for HMO's only applies if properties are 3 or more storeys. This is being changed so flats and one/two-storey properties will be brought within the scope of the mandatory licensing scheme.


In addition rooms used for sleeping by 1 adult will have to be no smaller than 6.51 square metres, and those slept in by 2 adults will have to be no smaller than 10.22 square metres. Rooms slept in by children of 10 years and younger will have to be no smaller than 4.64 square metres.


The licence must specify the maximum number of persons (if any) who may occupy any room and the total number across the different rooms must be the same as the number of persons for whom the property is suitable to live in.


The new licensing rules only apply to houses in multiple occupation in England and DCLG say it will affect around 160,000 houses.


Government has also set out details of criminal offences which will automatically ban someone from being a landlord. From April next year, someone convicted of offences such as burglary and stalking can be added to the database of rogue landlords and be barred from renting properties. These proposals are made in the Government's response to earlier consultation on proposed banning order offences under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

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