As a landlord, you need to make sure that any properties you let out are safe and habitable places for your tenants and there are several rules that you need to abide by before letting your property out. However, if you decide to become the landlord of an HMO property you take on the extra responsibilities to ensure that you abide by the added legal regulations that are now in place in the UK for houses of multiple occupancies.
This can be a real challenge for landlords of HMO properties, as the regulations change and you need to keep on top of them, as failing to do this can lead to prosecution.
The extra regulations that are put on HMO properties are mainly around fire safety and other health and safety issues. This is because when you have multiple unrelated people living together in a property the risk to your tenants is higher than if you let the property to a single household.
Here are the 5 critical things you must do to avoid prosecution and fines.
- Get a licence.
If you have an HMO property in England or Wales, you need to get a licence. There are various types of HMO licences- Mandatory, Selective, Additional Licensing, the one you need depends on the number of rooms and occupiers in the property, the size, Council area and their policy. It is advisable to check this if you are intending to or already own an HMO property.
- Have an up- to- date Electrical Safety Certificate.
- Have an up-to-date Fire Safety Certificate.
- Ensure your rental property is not overcrowded, i.e. you must ensure the number of tenants in the property do not exceed the numbers allowed by law.
- All relevant documents and health and safety issues are up to date.
Please be aware the above list is not exhaustive, there are a plethora of various management regulations that govern this part of the private rental sector.
What happens if you do not comply with the regulations?
As you will be aware, the HMO property market is one of the most lucrative areas in the private rental sector, however, is also the most heavily regulated and it is advisable take a proactive and preventative measures to ensure that as an HMO Landlord most of your profits is not filtered away in paying fines and costs for enforcement actions brought by the Council against you.
Did you know that at least 80% percent of HMO Landlords are at risk of receiving fines from the Council or the Court if the Council takes you to Court?
The last few months we have seen a huge increase in enforcement actions by the Local Councils since the pandemic, enforcement actions have steadily risen and is set to rise even more the rest of 2021 and into 2022, as an HMO Landlord, how prepared are you with the changes that have taken place over the last eighteen months with more to come? There is a huge recruitment drive for HMO officers as cash strapped Local Authorities have stepped up their enforcement procedures to generate and increase revenue.
There is a current enforcement drive by several Councils across the UK right now against HMO Landlords and including “accidental” HMO Landlords. -enforcement actions have gone up by 50% since January 2021.
To find out more about whether you need an HMO licence; what type of licence and to review your current compliance processes, contact us at Reen Anderson Solicitors on 0207 859 4451 for a complimentary 15-minute assessment call, if nothing else, for your own peace of mind.