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House in Multiple Occupation - new legal requirements 2018

Following the introduction of the Housing and Planning Act and proposals for changing the scope of mandatory HMO Licensing, we are expecting a lot of changes in 2018.

Below are the changes that are widely anticipated from Government and we will update this page as and when we learn more.

Proposed changes

Expected new requirements

Financial penalties

Financial penalties for housing offences of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution. Offences to include: HMO licensing, breaching licence conditions or management regulations, failing to comply with legal notices. Introduced April 2017.

Rent Repayment Orders (RRO)

Tenants and Local Authorities will be able to apply to reclaim rent where there is an offence under the Housing Act 2004, breach of a banning order or unlawful eviction. There will no longer need to be a conviction for an RRO to be applied for. Introduced April 2017.

Tenancy deposit schemes (TDS) - information sharing

Local Authorities can now request information about private rented properties in their area from TDS. Councils can request rented property addresses, landlords and agents addresses and the number of deposits recorded at each address. Guidance. Introduced April 2017.

Mandatory licensing

The Government will extend the scope of mandatory HMO licensing. It will apply where certain HMOs are occupied by five persons or more in two or more households, regardless of the number of storeys. This includes any HMO which is a building or a converted flat where such householders lack or share basic amenities such as a toilet, personal washing facilities or cooking facilities. It also applies to purpose built flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or both are occupied as an HMO. More information. Introduced April 2018.

Bedroom minimum sizes in licensable HMOs

Minimum sizes: Single occupancy bedroom 6.51sq.m; double occupancy 10.22sq.m. No discretion and any bedrooms below these sizes will be disregarded. More information. Introduced April 2018.

Rogue Landlords database

A national database of rogue landlords. May include people/businesses convicted of offences or having received more than one financial penalty. Minimum of two years on the database. Helps Local Authorities track poor landlords who cross boundaries. More information here.

Banning Orders

Following prosecution, Local Authorities will be able to apply to the First Tier Tribunal for a landlord to be banned from acting as a landlord or agent. Banning order will last for a minimum of 12 months and breaching a banning order could result in a custodial sentence or unlimited fine. More information.

Electrical safety standards

The Government may choose to introduce electrical safety standards in all rented properties. The Government have set up a technical working group to consider this and new regulations will be needed before anything can be implemented. Announcement expected 2018. Awaiting Government update.

Abandonment

The Act includes measures for landlords to recover possession of abandoned properties let under ASTs where the rent is over two months’ in arrears, without a court order. Guidance for landlords and agents is expected in 2017.

Fit and proper person status

Enhanced checks may include DBS or Discloser Scotland checks for a Licence Holders. Further checks around bankruptcy and immigration status of landlords and Right to rent checks for tenants. Will require regulations. Recent government update has decided not to implement these additional checks at this current time. More information.

Client money protection (CMP)

A Working group review in March 2017 recommended that CMP is made mandatory for lettings and managing agents. Secretary of State to decide if and when to introduce.

Last updated 10 January 2018

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