Landlords are being urged to ensure their licences are up to date ahead of changes to the law that mean more people who live in privately-rented houses in multiple occupations (HMOs) will be covered by the scheme.
New government rules will come into effect on 1 October 2018 that widen the scope under which HMOs require a mandatory licence.
The new regulations remove the three-storey rule, bringing any HMO which is occupied by five or more people from at least two separate households into the scope of mandatory licensing, regardless of the number of storeys. New mandatory conditions will include stipulating the minimum sizes of rooms that may be used for sleeping accommodation.
Landlords with HMOs meeting the new criteria must apply for an HMO Licence before 1 October 2018 to avoid committing a criminal offence.
Mike Brook, Leeds City Council’s service manager for private sector housing said:
“The rules are changing and I would ask landlords and agents to take prompt action to ensure their one and two storey HMOs are covered by a licence application.”
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities said:
“We are alerting landlords with properties affected by these new conditions now so there is sufficient time to apply for the new licence before the law changes in October.
“Leeds’ private rented housing sector has expanded rapidly in recent years showing how important the market is in meeting housing needs. Any legislation that helps improve the overall standard of housing conditions in Leeds has to be a good thing.”
Leeds issues the largest number of mandatory HMO licences in England and these licences have conditions which are meant to keep occupants safe and include fire safety requirements, amenity levels for cooking, washing, and general maintenance as well as controlling the number of tenants that each property can safely house.
It is a criminal offence for landlords and agents to operate a licensable HMO without holding a licence or to breach their licence conditions. HMO licences last for up to five years and Leeds City Council is currently renewing licences for the 2,800 licensable HMOs across Leeds.
More information on the upcoming changes, including how to apply for licences, can be found here: