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Important changes affecting private landlords in 2018

An outstretched hand holding a set of keys in front of a row of houses

Published: Thursday, 10th May 2018

We will be responsible for ensuring that HMOs are licensed and that rental properties have the appropriate EPC rating and we are urging landlords to take action now to avoid penalties down the line.

Houses of Multiple Occupation

Changes to the rules about licensing Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) come into force on 1 October this year. The Government is making it compulsory to license properties of less than three storeys that are let out to five unrelated individuals that make up two or more households.

The fees for licencing have also increased for the first time since 2006.  From 1 April 2018, the fees are as follows:

  • a new licence is £685 - up to ten rooms, plus £39.37 for every additional habitable room after that
  • a renewal licence is £596 - up to ten rooms, plus £39.37 for every additional habitable room after that

Cllr Adrian Lawrence, cabinet member for Housing, said: "With effect from October it will be a criminal offence to operate an HMO of less than three storeys that is let out to five unrelated individuals that make up two or more households without a licence.  To encourage landlords, whose properties now need to be licensed, to get their applications, with all the relevant paperwork in place, to us in plenty of time, we are offering a £50 discount.  Any landlord letting an HMO as specified in the new rules, should get in touch with council's housing standards team so that they can be informed of the paperwork that is required for the licence."

The start date for licences on properties that don't currently need licensing will be deferred to 1 October, but by applying for the license early, the landlord can benefit from the £50 discount.

Rental of hard-to-heat properties

With effect from 1 April 2018, landlords have not been able to grant new tenancy agreements to new or existing tenants on properties with an Energy Performance Certificate rating of F or G. Efforts must be made to get those properties to a minimum standard of an E rating. 

From April 2020, it will become illegal to continue to let homes out with a performance rating of less than E, even if there has been no change to tenancy arrangements. 

From 2020 local authorities will be able to impose fines of up to £5,000. 

The council is urging landlords to take remedial action now to bring their homes up to the required standard, to avoid paying a fine and losing further income by being unable to let their homes.

Cllr Lawrence added: "At a time when there is high demand for private rented property it is crucial that landlords do the right thing. It is not acceptable to let sub-standard property to tenants. We, of course, want to point landlords in the right direction and make sure they have everything in place as we don't want to see housing being taken out of use. There is advice on achieving the standard on the Government's website and further advice on the Energy Saving Trust website."

To register your HMO call us during our office hours on 01553 616200 and ask for the housing standards team.

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