HMO licensing for hundreds more landlords

Hundreds of landlords letting out small shared houses will have to join licensing schemes as two more councils are seek tougher controls over houses in multiple occupation (HMO).

From January 18, 2013, landlords letting homes to three or more tenants sharing kitchens or bathrooms will have to sign up with Black burn and Darwen Council, Lancashire, for selective licensing in the Griffin neighbourhood of Blackburn.

Councillors explained licensing is needed to bring homes up to standard because of a perceived low housing demand.

Licences will cost £750 per property and expire after five years. Running an unlicensed HMO could lead to a fine of up to £20,000 for landlords.

HMO tenants must also act as good neighbours by keeping noise down.

Bedford Council is considering a similar additional licensing for HMOs.

“The aim of the scheme, which will run for five years, will be to enforce proper standards on the landlords and managers who persistently fail to comply with the law and put tenant safety at ris,” said the council.

“This scheme will ensure that all HMOs will have to be licensed – any unlicensed HMO will be subject to enforcement action, which is likely to be prosecution.. The fees will enable the council to proactively deal with all HMOs in the borough in a scheduled way to protect vulnerable residents.

The council has also warned some landlords may fail the ‘fit and proper person’ test for licensing.

“Such landlords should not be owning or managing HMOs . The council is committed to improving standards and management through the means of additional licensing,” said the council.

The finer details of the licensing scheme are under consultation – more information is available on the council web site. (Opens in new window)

Landlords can also meet councilors and officers to discuss the scheme at 6pm on Tuesday,  November 27, 2012, in the Howard Room at Bedford Corn Exchange.

Consultation ends on December 10, 2012.

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