This week at City Rental Services we’ve noticed that the Government has published a consultation document which proposes extending the mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation, or HMOs.
This could, of course, potentially impact many property landlords in Bristol – particularly those dealing with groups of student tenants or young professionals sharing rented properties in various BS postcodes.
The main proposals are:
- Removing the storey rule, so all rented houses – regardless of how many floors – with five or more people from 2 or more households are in scope – we think that this will further enable local authorities to tackle poor standards and the problems being seen in high-risk smaller properties as the sector has grown
- Extending mandatory licensing to flats above and below business premises (regardless of the number of storeys), as evidence suggests that there are more problems in these type of rented properties in Bristol
- Setting a minimum room size of 6.52sq-m in line with the existing overcrowding standard (Housing Act 1985) to close a loophole recently created by an upper-tier tribunal ruling. This is enabling some landlords to let rooms far too small for an adult to legally occupy.
In addition to the main consultation proposals, Chapter 4 seeks views on a number of measures within licensing, and is seeking views to making changes regarding:
- the evidential basis for determining ‘fit and proper’ – dealing with some of the current difficulties around disclosure checks
- refuse disposal in licensed properties
- the treatment of certain types of purpose-built student accommodation, and whether these should have a license
The response deadline is 13 December 2016, so we advise Bristol landlords to ensure they’re up-to-speed on this.
If you’re looking for advice on managing rented accommodation in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.