HMO Landlords in Havering Beware

26/01/2018

From March 2018, there will be additional requirements which you need to be aware of if you are letting a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in the Havering borough.

Some of you may be wondering what an HMO is? Put simply, your home is a standard HMO if both of the following points apply:

  • At least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • You share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

Furthermore, your home will be classed as a large HMO if all of the following elements apply:

  • The house is at least 3 storeys high
  • At least 5 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • You share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

For clarity, a household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:

  • Married or living together – including people in same-sex relationships
  • Relatives or half-relatives – for example, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
  • Step-parents and step-children

HMOs are an attractive proposition for residential landlords as the yield is generally higher than that which can be realised on properties in single occupation. However, there is additional administration which must be adhered to fully.

If you do let an HMO, under current rules and regulations there is a mandatory need for a licence for large HMOs. As of 1 March 2018, there will also be an additional licensing requirement for standard HMOs. This additional licence will only apply in the following Havering wards: Brooklands, Elm Park, Gooshays, Harold Wood, Havering Park, Heaton, Mawneys, Pettits, Rainham and Wennington, Romford Town, South Hornchurch and Squirrels Heath.

The consequences of not having the correct HMO licence can be severe and could result in landlords and managing agents being prosecuted. This carries an unlimited fine and the offender could be landed with a fixed penalty notice of up to £30,000. Furthermore, the council has powers to take control of unlicensed properties, with the potential for any rent paid being refunded to the occupiers.

It is also worth bearing in mind that an HMO must have planning use C4 and not C3, which only covers houses in single occupation.

If you have any queries or are concerned by the upcoming changes to licensing requirements, it is recommended to check with the local authority where the property is located immediately to check for mandatory and additional licensing requirements.

MORE INFORMATION 

If you are a residential landlord with an HMO and would like further advice relating to the impending changes, please contact a member of our Commercial Property team for impartial legal advice. Call on 01708 229444 or email us using our contact form.This article was written by Julien Pritchard, Partner at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of January 2018.

26/01/2018

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