HMO Licensing Rules Look Set To Change

01 February 2012 Categories: News

One of the first city-wide HMO licensing schemes is currently underway in the student-filled city of Oxford. If the scheme later reports good results with regards to an improvement in accommodation standards the rest of England and Wales could see similar schemes being introduced.

At present only large HMOs in England and Wales are required to have a licence but under the rules of the new scheme every HMO in the country would need to have one, or the landlord could face a fine of up to £20,000. This means that thousands of ‘student digs’ i.e. family sized homes that are shared by 3-5 students, would need to be inspected by a member of the local council before being approved for a licence. If the living conditions are found to be inadequate then a licence would be denied and the landlord could no longer operate the property as a HMO.

Joe McManners, councillor for Oxford and city board member for housing said about the scheme in Oxford, “HMOs have long been recognised as being a particular problem in the city, with many examples of poor quality homes and in some cases being poorly managed. These damage the reputation of good landlords and we are determined to put this right, and stop those doing the right thing being undercut by cowboys.”

Whether landlords with small HMOs actually bother to register their properties remains to be seen though.