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News & opinion

11 APR 2018

New regulations for house in multiple occupation (HMO)

The government has put forward strong measures to tackle poor space standards and overcrowding in the private rental sector (PRS) with a potential fine of up to £30,000 for those who fail to comply.

Standards in the PRS are in the spotlight now with a renewed focus on tackling rogue landlords, with this new policy focusing on houses in multiple occupation (HMO).

It is expected that, from October, councils will be able to use nationally set minimum standards, or even exceed these, on bedroom size and impose limits on the number of people who can live in each bedroom of a licenced multi occupancy home.

The aim is to provide healthy, safe and habitable homes for tenants, where at times overcrowding can lead to health and safety risks. This includes the provision of adequate cooking, washing and waste collection facilities.

The standards will apply to those seeking new licences, with a 18-month grace period for properties caught by the new licensing criteria.

Tightening of standards

This is another step in the tightening of standards in the rental market, but for a more sustainable approach to PRS standards, the government should consider the comprehensive regulation of the sector.

RICS professionals are already regulated against robust ethical and professional standards. If the government is serious about improving conditions for renters and raising professionalism in the sector, it should work with us in our development of a mandatory regulatory framework applying to all landlords and letting agents.

The PRS code of practice which we are drafting in collaboration with a coalition of organisations from right across the sector should be adopted by government, setting a minimum level of service provision on which the market can depend.