Housing minister Alok Sharma is to proceed with plans to significantly widen HMO licensing in the UK, and has also published the range of criminal offences that will soon trigger letting agents and landlords being automatically banned from the sector.
The new measures will introduce significant additional responsibilities for landlords, letting agents and property managers, and stiff penalties for those convicted of certain criminal offences.
The HMO measures, which apply to England and are to be introduced in April 2018 – assuming parliamentary approval – will see some 160,000 additional properties brought into licensing.
The proposals frame these as those housing five or more people from two or more separate ‘family groups’. This significantly widens the range of property types included within HMO regulations, which used to only include properties with three or more storeys. Now, apartments and smaller houses will have to be licensed if they fit the new criteria.
Enough is enough and so I’m putting these rogue landlords on notice – shape up or ship out of the rental business.” Alok Sharma, Minister for Housing
Also, bedrooms offered by landlords and letting agents within HMOs will soon have to meet a new minimum size standard of 6.52 sq m if inhabited by one person, 10.22 sq m if lived in by two people and 4.64 sq m for a child of ten years old and under.
The government has also published the list of criminal offences that can lead to landlords, letting agents and property managers being banned from the property rental sector.
These will include serious offences such as theft, blackmail, handling stolen goods, harassment and stalking.
“Every tenant has a right to a safe, secure and decent home,” says Alok Sharma. “But far too many are being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who profit from providing overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes.
“Through a raft of new powers we are giving councils the further tools they need to crack down these rogue landlords and kick them out of the business for good.”