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From 1 October there will be changes to the licensing criteria for private properties described as houses in multiple occupation (HMO).
It will change the criteria for when a house or building is classified as a mandatory licensable HMO, when any property occupied by five or more people of two or more families will be subject to licensing requirements.
It will also include the minimum size of rooms used for sleeping one and two adults in this type of accommodation.
The change of definition will affect private sector housing landlords.
The new definition for mandatory licensable HMOs will include minimum room sizes: rooms used for sleeping one adult will need to be no smaller than 6.51 square metres, while those slept in by two adults will be at least 10.22 square metres.
The rule in place currently defines a mandatory licensable HMOs as properties of three or more storeys but as a result of the changes many more privately rented properties will be subject to HMO licensing regulations including single storey properties.
Landlords affected will need to offer bedrooms of a reasonable size to tenants, and a number of landlords will be required to secure a license for an HMO for the very first time.
Cllr Ed Ruane, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities said that it was important to enable landlords to take steps to make changes to properties.
He added: “Any landlords who believe that their property/ies may be affected can arrange for licenses to be awarded. The new definition for HMOs will mean better controls and regulations on properties which should improve housing standards for tenants.”
Council licensing officers are currently linking with local private landlords.
“It’s important that we speak with landlords and letting agents. We don’t want to introduce new layers of bureaucracy. It’s crucial to have open and frank conversations about improving in housing standards.”
You can also find out more about HMOs.