Quote Ref: WS1

Landlords may face criminal charges if they don't comply with new HMO rules

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Updated legislation relating to the licensing of HMO’s (houses in multiple occupation) could see landlords facing criminal charges if they fail to comply. 

As we reported in August, the new rules - which come in to force next month on 1st October – changes the definition of what constitutes an HMO. This means an extra 177,000 landlords will have to meet new minimum standards on room size and safety or face fines up to £30,000 and even criminal prosecution.

The Daily Mail explains that while HMO licensing already applies to landlords who rent their properties to five or more tenants from two or more different households where the property is three or more storeys, from 1 October, the definition changes. So, any property let to five or more tenants from two or more households will be classed as an HMO - regardless of the number of floors.

The legislation changes are part of a wider Government effort to crack down on slum landlords who cram tenants into tiny flats, providing poor quality, overcrowded, unsafe rentals.

A recent example includes a Greater London landlord who stuffed 31 beds into a three bedroom house.

These changes, however, could mean that thousands of reputable landlords who offer high quality accommodation to their tenants may also have to comply with the rules - meaning costly refits.