As part of the recent licencing reforms for Part 2 Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), room sizes must have a minimum sleeping floor area of 6.51m square for one person over the age of 10 and 10.22m square for two persons over the age of 10, according to recent changes released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The recent non-statutory guidance for new room size requirements has been produced for Local Housing Authorities by the government but will also be applicable for landlords with HMO properties and tenancies.

The recent licensing reforms do not provide an authoritative interpretation of the law, as this is down to the courts. However, it has introduced new conditions that must be included in all HMO licences that have been granted under Part 2 of the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation act.

National Landlord Investment Show – MPU

From the 1st October 2018, compulsory licensing also incorporates buildings with one or two storeys and for the licensing to apply the HMO itself must be occupied by five or more people from two or more separate households, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The new room size regulations have been introduced to help protect tenants renting in the private rented sector which at present, represents 20 per cent of all UK households. HMOs are an integral part of the homes which are available to rent in this sector and they are often a cheaper form of accommodation for people with limited housing options.

HMOs are most commonly used by students, young professionals and migrant workers sharing flats and houses and often the most vulnerable people in society are living in this type of housing. However, many HMOs aren’t designed for multiple occupation and are at a greater risk of overcrowding and fire compared to other types of housing available in the private rented sector.

The new guidance on room sizes is aimed to assist professional private landlords who are letting out good-quality HMOs to tenants, to incentivise them to provide well-maintained accommodation without imposing disproportionate regulation, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Since the first HMO legislation was introduced by the government in 2006, there have been recorded cases of some opportunistic so-termed “rogue landlords” who have exploited vulnerable tenants by renting out sub-standard, overcrowded accommodation.

This has also impacted the local community when these landlords have failed to provide adequate waste storage solutions, causing further issues with regards to infestations of pests and further impacting the health and safety of their tenants and the property itself. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, has also introduced changes for waste in the recent HMOs licensing reforms.

With the recent licensing reforms, the government has clarified the minimum room size which will need to be applied to all rooms used for sleeping accommodation in HMOs, alongside the added requirements for the provision of refuse disposal in licensed HMO properties.

These recent reforms are designed to complement the Housing and Planning Act 2016, to target “rogue landlords”. They will also operate with the additions brought in by the 2016 Act to help enforce the changes and will also be included in the financial penalty procedures and banning orders that are in place to help prevent “rogue landlords” from letting substandard property to vulnerable tenants.

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Steven Taylor
Steven reports on the daily churn of the property news cycle, often reporting on the stories you may have missed during the week. He covers a range of topics, including market sentiment, new findings and announcements by policy-makers.

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