Tenants living in shared houses could face steeper rents following the introduction of new legislation which requires their landlords to hold a license.
Prior to 1st October 2018, mandatory licensing was only required for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) with more than three storeys, containing five or more people in at least two separate households.
The new rules have removed the three-storey threshold, so that all homes which are let to five or more people in two or more households must now obtain a license from their local authority. The move affects around 160,000 HMOs.
According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, obtaining a license will cost landlords an average of £1,200 each – costs which the National Landlords Association say could be passed onto tenants in the form of higher rents.
Some landlords may opt to let out their homes to fewer people, so they no long qualify as an HMO and don’t have to obtain a license, which may mean some tenants even end up having to find somewhere else to live.
Why the rules have changed
The new licensing rules have been introduced to protect tenants, with the Government claiming that they will mean councils can take further action to crack down on those landlords who are renting out “sub-standard and overcrowded homes.”
Housing Minister Heather Wheeler MP said: “Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live. The new guidance for landlords will further protect private renters against bad and overcrowded conditions and poor management practice.”
Landlords can be fined and ordered to repay up to 12 months’ rent if you live in an HMO that isn’t licensed but should be.
Tenants could face rent increases