An HMO with 5 or more unrelated persons, from more than one household, sharing facilities will require a Mandatory HMO licence. This applies to all HMO properties in England, although there is an exception to the rule (stated below).
Mandatory HMO licensing became prevalent following a fatal flat fire in Glasgow. Two students became trapped in their basement flat that had a disconnected smoke alarm, iron bars on the window and a blocked fire exit. Research at the time showed that you were 16 times more likely to die in a fire in a 3 storey (or more) HMO than in a family home. So properties of 3 or more storeys were the first to require licensing. However, in October 2018 the national Mandatory HMO licensing scheme changed – properties with 5+ unrelated tenants now need a Mandatory HMO licence, regardless of the number of storeys.
-For an individual flat of 5 or more tenants, located inside a purpose built block of three or more self contained flats, Mandatory HMO licensing does not apply.
-If your flat is in a purpose built block that contains 2 self-contained flats and is an HMO of 5 or more tenants it will require Mandatory HMO licensing.
-That said, the flats may still need a licence if the council have an Additional or Selective licensing scheme running.
The new Mandatory licensing regulations came into play on 1st October 2018 and applications should have been submitted by the 1st October. The main key difference is that regardless of the number of storeys, 5+ bed HMOs will require a Mandatory HMO licence.
BINS, RECYCLING AND STORAGE
Some local authorities in particular have ongoing issues with refuse disposal and rubbish outside shared houses and HMOs. The government is therefore set to introduce a mandatory condition on all HMO licences that requires landlords to provide adequate bin facilities for their properties.
MINIMUM ROOM SIZES
The government is keen to crack down on tiny bedrooms in HMOs. A minimum room size for single occupancy and double occupancy has therefore been agreed, and any rooms which do not comply must change their usage. The national guidance is 4.64m2 for a bedroom occupied by a child under 10 years old, 6.51m2 for a bedroom occupied by a person over 10 years old and 10.22m2 for a bedroom occupied by two people over 10 years old, however some London councils have their their own larger minimum room sizes. Typically, if a room is found to be too small the local authority may still grant the Mandatory HMO licence but will stipulate that the landlord must not renew the tenancy for that particular room, unless it is made larger.
The first question many landlords find themselves asking is “Do I need a Mandatory HMO licence?” we can help you determine if your property falls within the Mandatory HMO licensing criteria.
While it is possible to navigate the Mandatory licensing process yourself, though we would advise against doing so. If you do choose to manage the process independently it is important to do so correctly, ensuring you familiarise yourself with all standards and council guidelines before applying for a Mandatory HMO licence. We offer a comprehensive service to help landlords and agents through the Mandatory licensing process, so the easiest option is to get in touch.
It is advisable to be aware of your local authorities specific HMO standards, as these tend to vary from council to council, before you apply for a Mandatory HMO licence. Our Local Authority Compliance Check can help you determine how compliant your property currently is in relation to your local authority’s standards and guidelines. It will highlight any specific issues that need to be addressed and identify any certification that needs to be in place in order obtain a Mandatory HMO licence.
The Housing Act 2004 also requires you to notify various ‘relevant persons’ that you are applying for a Mandatory licence. These persons must be informed of your application and you will be expected to supply their contact details to your local authority. Typically these are freeholders, leaseholders, landlords, mortgage providers, managing agents or anyone else involved in the property.
We can manage the entire Mandatory HMO licensing process on your behalf. Simply book a call below to speak to one of our highly competent professionals.