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

Derby City Council is now urging landlords who run HMO’s that are licensable under the new rules to apply for their licence before the 1st of October. Any landlord who hasn’t applied for a licence or Temporary Exemption Certificate after this date could face unlimited fines or a civil penalty of up to £30,000.

What are the new rules and what properties do they apply to?

The new conditions will apply to certain HMOs that are occupied by five or more people 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 have happened?

Minimum room sizes in licensed HMOs

There are now 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.

If you’re an HMO Landlord in Derby and would like further advice or information about HMO licences, please visit the Derby City Council website where you can apply for a licence online. Alternatively, email the Housing Standards Team or call 01332 640764.