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Changes to HMO regulations

Changes to HMO regulations

From the 1st of October 2018 mandatory HMO licensing in England is changing.

Here are the key points:

  • The three storey rule is being scrapped
  • Landlords who fall under the new regulations must apply for a license by October 1st
  • Minimum room sizes are being introduced

What this means

Scrapping the three storey rule

The requirement for a property to have three storeys to need a license is being scrapped. That means any HMO occupied by 5 or more individuals (who aren’t all related) will need a licence. This occupation requirement isn’t changing.

Applying for a license

Landlords of HMOs that fall under the new definition must apply for a license (or temporary exemption) by the 1st of October 2018. If they don’t they’ll be committing a criminal offence.

The government originally announced there would be a grace period of sixth months but that isn’t happening now. All landlords affected must apply for a licence by the 1st of October 2018.

If your property is already licensed under mandatory or additional licensing then your existing licence applies until its expiry date. The new minimum room size requirements will apply from the renewal of your licence.

Minimum rooms sizes

From the 1st of October 2018, local housing authorities must also impose minimum
bedroom sizes for the HMO. Any room smaller than the specified size mustn’t be used as a bedroom.

The minimum bedroom sizes are:

  • 6.51 m2 for one person over 10 years of age
  • 10.22 m2 for two people over 10 years of age
  • 4.64 m2 for one child under the age of 10

Any area of the room with a ceiling height less than 1.5m can’t be counted
towards the minimum room size.

It’s important to note these are statutory minimum sizes, not the optimal room size.

Local housing authorities must give landlords time to comply with the new room size standards. The maximum period they can specify is 18 months, but a local authority can choose to shorten this.

This is a brief summary of the changes. For full details and conditions read the government’s guidelines.