LANDLORDS are being urged to make sure they don’t fall foul of new laws affecting Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Since 2006, landlords have been legally required to licence HMOs which have at least three storeys and five or more occupants who form more than one household.
But from October 2018, HMOs occupied by five or more people forming more than one household will be required to have a licence, regardless of the number of storeys.
The new legislation will also set out minimum room sizes for bedrooms within licensed HMOs.
Licenses last for five years and cost £250 per bedroom, or £200 per bedroom for landlords who are members of the Council’s Landlord Accreditation Scheme.
Councillor Nigel Cooke, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Housing, said: “We welcome any legal changes aimed at improving standards in the private rented sector and our message to landlords who think they may be affected is to act now and start the process of applying for a new licence.
“We urge anybody who is unsure about how it will affect them to get in touch with us as soon as possible and we will be happy to provide advice and guidance. Landlords who don’t comply could face prosecution or a financial penalty so it’s really important to take the necessary steps to comply with the new regulations.”
The new legislation follows this month’s introduction of new powers to help local authorities tackle rogue landlords.
Councils can now apply for orders banning landlords and property agents who have been committed of certain offences from operating, and can also add their names to a national database of offenders.
For further information on HMO licensing requirements or the Council’s Landlord Accreditation Scheme, contact the Council’s Private Sector Housing team on 01642 527797 or email [email protected]