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Posted on September 19th 2018 by admin-movingin

ARLA reminds industry on provisions of imminent HMO rule changes

The Association of Residential Letting Agents has issued a reminder to the industry of the need to understand and abide by new rules for Houses in Multiple Occupation which come into effect on October 1. 

From that date all HMOs must be licensed if they house five or more occupants, from at least two unrelated households irrespective of the number of storeys that the property has.

ARLA says it is important for agents to note that landlord clients who already have a licence under Additional or Selective Licensing Schemes, are not required to reapply for a mandatory HMO licence until their existing licence expires. 

However, councils can still introduce Additional Licensing Schemes for property that falls outside the scope of the new rules.

In detail, the ARLA reminder says that local authorities will determine whether a property meets a specific test to conclude whether it will need to be licensed. This includes: ‘The Standard Test’; ‘The Self-Contained Flat Test’; and ‘The Converted Building Test’.

Standard Test: More than one household has living accommodation and at least two households share basic amenities, or the living accommodation is lacking in basic amenities.

Self-Contained Flat Test: Occupied by five or more people forming more than one household and the flat lacks basic amenities, or more than one household shares basic amenities.

Converted Building Test: A building that has been converted and where one or more of the units of living accommodation is not a self-contained flat.

Purpose-built flats within a block containing three or more self-contained flats are not included. Converted blocks of flats (or Section 257 HMOs) will not require a mandatory licence, but individual flats within that building will require a licence if they meet ‘The Standard Test’.

Previously a large HMO had to have a mandatory licence when it housed five or more occupants from at least two unrelated households, but only if the property had at least three storeys. Since April 2016 all large HMOs have had to be licensed with the local council, typically licences last for a maximum of five years.

ARLA’s reminder says that where a mandatory HMO licence has been applied for, and granted, before October 1 this year, the licence will commence on October 1.

In areas where an unlicensed HMO is currently subject to Selective Licensing, and the licence is applied for before October 1, the Local Authority should grant a mandatory HMO licence to begin from  October 1.

If a property is currently licensed under a mandatory or additional scheme, the existing licence will remain valid until it expires. 

This means that local authorities must only enforce existing conditions of the licence until expiration. These landlords should receive necessary information from their council about the new requirements prior to the expiration of their current licence. The new mandatory licensing conditions will then apply from the renewal of the existing licence.


Original Source: Letting Agent Today.

Original Author: Graham Norwood.