New HMO licensing powers have come into force

The deadline for landlords to apply for their HMO Licence under the new regulations has now passed.

As from 1st October 2018 any privately rented property housing 5 or more people in 2 or more households must be licenced, the council had communicated this in July and now the new licence laws have come into force.

The Council believes however that there are many properties in district that fall into this scheme for which landlords have yet to submit their application, and as the earlier article stated, this is a criminal offence.

The council is keen to monitor local HMO’s and the new legislation allows them to control the rise in HMOs having already taken steps to reduce HMO’s in both Winnall and Stanmore through Article Four Directions.

The council will allow a 1 month period of grace for late applicants, expiring on 31st  October 2018, after which any application will automatically attract a Civil Penalty or prosecution, in line with our published Enforcement Policy (http://www.winchester.gov.uk/housing/private-housing-and-empty-properties/enforcement-policy ). 

Winchester City Conservative Council Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing, Councillor Caroline Horrill said:

“I welcome the fact that the Government has passed this legislation as I know that the issues of HMOs in Winchester and the wider District is a hot topic for our residents.

“Mandatory licensing means that we can gain a better picture of where the HMOs are, and can help us deal with any future hotspots where they may become an issue or where enforcement action might be needed.

“We want to work with landlords, so they are aware of their legal obligation and the changes in legislation, so they do not get caught out before this comes into force in Autumn.”

Councillors on Winchester City Council’s Cabinet Housing Committee have agreed that charges for a new license are to be set at £900 (for a five-year license).

The new HMO mandatory licensing will apply when:

  • Properties are occupied by five or more people who are not from the same household, regardless of the number of storeys.
  • A building or a converted flat lacks or shares basic amenities such as a toilet, personal washing facilities or cooking facilities
  • Purpose built flats with up to two flats in the block when one or both are occupied as an HMO

Landlords who rent out HMO properties or tenants living in HMO properties requiring any further support or advice should contact the council's private sector housing team on 01962 848526 / privatesectorhousing@winchester.gov.uk or follow the link to http://www.winchester.gov.uk/housing/private-housing-and-empty-properties/houses-in-multiple-occupation