New HMO room size regulations effective from 1 October 2018


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The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force on 1 October 2018, with an 18 month roll-out period for compliance.

The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force on 1 October 2018, with an 18 month roll-out period for compliance. Following the 2016 Government consultation on Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO), mandatory licensing requirements are being extended to any HMO occupied by five or more people (including children) and forming more than one household. Currently, landlords only require licenses where the HMO is over three storeys and occupied by five or more people forming more than one household. The Government estimates this will bring 160,000 new properties within scope of mandatory licensing.

Licences issued from 1 October 2018 will also contain minimum room size requirements to prevent landlords renting out overcrowded properties. These include the floor area of:

  • any room used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged over 10 years is not less than 6.51 square metres;
  • any room used as sleeping accommodation by two persons ages over 10 years is not less than 10.22 square metres;
  • any room used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged under 10 years old is not less than 4.64 square metres; and any room not used as sleeping accommodation is not less than 4.64 square metres.

Each local authority has the ability to impose tougher requirements where HMOs are an issue in the local area. With criminal fines of up to £30,000 for non-compliance, private providers of student HMOs will need to consider alternative options, such as renting to fewer students for a higher rent, leasing the HMO to the relevant university or targeting students who are closely related to form less singular households.

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