Many local authorities are unprepared for or even ignorant of the new and broader mandatory licensing scheme for HMOs due to be introduced in a week’s time, it has been claimed.
The National Landlords Association (NLA) says it has been contacted by member landlords trying to apply for licences who have claimed that their local authority either didn’t know about the new regulations or didn’t have the systems to deal with the new rules.
“This is an unacceptable failing on the part of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which should have ensured all local authorities were up to speed with the changes,” says Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA.
“It’s disappointing that more consideration hasn’t been made for the significance of this change and the challenges local authorities face in implementing it.
“Our advice to landlords who have encountered this is to apply for an HMO license using the existing process, even if the council hasn’t updated their forms.”
The widened mandatory licensing now includes properties of all sizes, whether one, two or more storeys high and containing either more than five people or more than one household sharing toilet, bathroom and cooking facilities.
All properties that are covered by the new scheme but were licensed under the previous regime are being transferred automatically.
The NLA also says many landlords think there is a ‘grace period’ because it was initially suggested the MHCLG but later withdrawn.
This means many have yet to approach their local authority to get a licence but now have less than a week to do so.
Guidance was issued to local authorities in June this year by the ministry.