Published Tuesday, 18th September 2018

Landlords of properties such as bedsits and flat shares are being urged to check whether they need to apply for a licence, following changes to housing laws coming in soon.

From October, the government requires landlords of all houses in multiple occupation (also known as HMOs) accommodating five people or more in two or more households to have a licence regardless of the number of storeys in the building. Previously, licences were only needed for HMOs of three storeys or more.

“Houses in multiple occupation are properties such as house shares and bedsits and other housing where people share amenities like the bathroom, kitchen or toilet. If you rent out this sort of property, it is really important that you check whether you need a licence. If you do need one, apply as soon as possible to avoid risking a fine. You can check and apply via our website,” says Cllr James Durrant, the Executive Member for Community Safety at Reigate & Banstead Borough Council.

The Council says that responsible landlords should not be concerned about the new requirement, which is being made by central government but which local authorities like Reigate & Banstead are responsible for enforcing: “The licence makes sure that basic safety requirements – such as having working smoke alarms, and electrical appliances and furniture that are safe – are met. This is good news for tenants and should give them reassurance that their home is safe,” says Cllr Durrant.  

There are also new minimum sizes for rooms used as sleeping accommodation. In certain circumstances an HMO can also sometimes be a converted house containing all self-contained flats. Details of when this is the case can also be found on this webpage. Landlords must apply before 1 October 2018 to avoid risking enforcement action.