In April this year, the scope of Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) licensing will be extended following a Government consultation in 2016. It’s hoped the expansion of the scheme will offer greater protection to tenants of HMOs and improve standards in the private rented sector.

The new conditions will apply to certain HMOs that are occupied by five people or more in two or more households, regardless of the number of storeys. Previously, it only applied to buildings of three or more storeys.

This includes any HMO which is a building or a converted flat where occupants lack or share basic amenities such as a toilet, bathroom or cooking facilities.

It also applies to purpose built flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or both are occupied as an HMO.

What other changes are happening?

Minimum room sizes in licensed HMOs

From April, there will be mandatory conditions in licences that regulate the size and use of rooms as sleeping accommodation including:

  • Making clear the absolute minimum sizes of rooms that may be used for sleeping.
  • Introducing a mandatory licencing condition requiring local authorities such as Derby City Council to specify which rooms in an HMO are suitable for sleeping accommodation and by how many adults and children.

If a room does not meet these conditions, the Council’s Housing Standards team will be required to give the landlord a reasonable period of time to remedy the failure and during this period they will not face any sanctions for a breach of the condition (unless the breach of condition was deliberate, in which case sanctions apply).

Refuse disposal and storage facilities in licensed HMOs

These changes will also include a mandatory condition requiring the HMO licence holder to comply with their local authority scheme for the provision of facilities for the proper disposal and storage of domestic refuse.

These directions will prescribe the numbers and use of receptacles for the storage and disposal of domestic waste generated from the HMO.

Providing suitable facilities for the disposal and storage of refuse is considered to be a fair and proper responsibility for the manager of an HMO.

Councillor Fareed Hussain, Cabinet Member for Urban Renewal commented:

“Everyone has the right to a safe, secure and decent home. However, some city renters are being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who make a large profit from providing overcrowded, squalid and sometimes, dangerous homes.”

He added

“Last year, we pledged to tackle rogue landlords in Derby and the expansion of the HMO Licensing scheme will give officers more powers to tackle poor quality privately rented housing in the city.”

If you’re a Landlord or a private tenant in Derby and would like further advice or information about HMO licences, please visit the Derby City Council website. Alternatively, email the Housing Standards Team or call 01332 640764.