The RLA has objected to the Government’s plans to extend its mandatory HMO licensing scheme.
In a detailed submission to the DCLG, which launched the houses in multiple occupation and residential property licensing reforms consultation in October, the RLA outlined a number of serious concerns about the plans.
The consultation, which closed this week, asked PRS landlords to respond to proposals to set minimum room sizes of 6.52sqm, extend mandatory licensing to flats above shops and remove the storey rule – so that any home with five or more people from two or more households is considered a HMO, regardless of the number of floors.
It also includes requirements for landlords of HMOs to provide adequate numbers of bins for their properties and could require them to meet the new fit and proper person test laid out in the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
David Smith, RLA Policy Director said: “Councils are already struggling to enforce licensing schemes and the extension will potentially triple the number of homes under mandatory licensing.
“What is the point in introducing extra regulations if there are no resources to enforce them?
“Tenants should not be forced into excessively small rooms, but there are cases where tenants have other space available within their properties, which should be taken into account.
“By concentrating so narrowly on bedroom size the Government could knock thousands of rooms out of the sector, potentially forcing tenants out of their homes.”
The Government claims extending mandatory licensing will give councils the powers they need to tackle criminal landlords and improve conditions for tenants.
Subject to parliamentary approval the extension would come into force during 2017.
There would be a grace period of six months for landlords to familiarise themselves with the new licensing requirements.
After that penalties for failing to obtain a licence would include criminal prosecutions, fines of up to £30,000 and rent repayment orders.
To read the RLA’S full response to the consultation click here.