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House of Commons Library notes: HMO definition and use classes

RLA
Written by RLA

HMOs contribute a large portion of the Private Rented Sector and the House of Commons library has published two ‘notes’ on current definitions, requirements (planning permission and licenses) for renting, and proposals for future debates…

HMOs contribute a large portion of the Private Rented Sector and the House of Commons library has published two ‘notes’ on current definitions, requirements (planning permission and licenses) for renting, and proposals for future debates.

Towards the end of 2013 the library of the House of Commons produced several documents that set out current thinking and proposals on various topics within the Private Rented Sector (PRS). These documents are good sources of information for landlords, tenants, and letting agents alike to be aware of the thinking that goes on in Westminster surrounding their privately rented accommodation.

As with our earlier news story on proposals to withdraw housing benefits for under 25s the ‘notes’ provide background information on the provisions, definitions, and systems in place to regulate certain conditions within the spectrum of the debate.

With respect to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs; sometimes known as Homes in Multiple Occupancy) the library has published two reports:

  1. HMOs – Commons library standard note
  2. HMOs & the Use Classes Order – Commons Library standard note

Both documents are important within the context of privately rented accommodation as HMOs are regulated with increasing scrutiny that licensing schemes throughout the country can attest to.

The first document; HMOs – Commons library standard note; sets out the basic parameters of what an HMO is to the various implementations in place with regards to licensing and “controlling conditions in non-licensable HMOs”.

The definition of what constitutes an HMO has historically been very important and continues to remain pivotal to planning and licensing, which is what the second document; HMOs & the Use Classes Order – Commons Library standard note; deals with specifically. The number of inhabitants, number of floors, and different families living in a dwelling all help constitute what makes up the definition of an HMO.

Local planning and community preservation is a hot topic for many of local councils and as such HMOs and proposed HMOs must pass rigorous licensing conditions and dwelling conditions.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is quoted in the second document after warning landlords to be aware of changes that took place in April 2010. The changes essentially mandate that you have to pay and wait for planning permission before you can legally rent.

HMOs provide affordable accommodation for large groups of people and contribute a massive portion of the PRS. Safeguarding investment and being aware of responsibilities is crucial for private landlords renting out HMOs so it is imperative that you are aware of obligations. However, it must be noted that local authorities/councils will also implement their own conditions and requirements, so while Central Government debate is important and interesting, it is pivotal to understand local pressures.

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About the author

RLA

RLA

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

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