The Residential Landlords Association has called on the Government to rein in plans to transform the way Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are licensed.
The RLA has responded to a Government consultation on plans to extend mandatory licensing for HMOs – changes which could potentially see hundreds of thousands more homes needing licences.
At present mandatory HMO licensing is restricted to properties that are three or more storeys high, containing five or more people in two or more households with shared facilities.
Under the new plans the three-storey criteria for licensing will be amended, either by changing it to two-storey or extending licensing to all HMOs containing five or more people. The Government is also considering a new national minimum room sizes, of around 6.5sqm for a single room and 10.2sqm for a double room.
The RLA believes many of the changes are unnecessary and says they will put a huge strain on local authorities.
The RLA submission in summary:
- No change to current HMO thresholds
- Licences should not be extended beyond two-storey buildings
- A simpler definition of HMOs
- Licences granted by default when councils fail to process applications on time
- No minimum national room size
RLA Policy Director David Smith said: “The consultation documents assume that maintaining the status quo is not an option. If this is the case the RLA is asking that any changes to existing legislation are kept to an absolute minimum.
“Local authorities already struggle to enforce the current mandatory licensing requirements and in the face of further budget savings their ability to police an extension that will bring hundreds of thousands of homes into the regime is questionable.”
The Government launched the consultation process on November 6 and it closes on Friday. Under current plans any changes will be brought in next year.
The consultation document can be viewed here: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/extending-mandatory-licensing-of-houses-in-multiple-occupation-and-related-reforms