Surely I am not the only landlord worried about new EPC requirements?9:44 AM, 17th February 2021
About 3 weeks ago 128
The result is many landlords unwittingly breach the law.
The problem is HMO licensing and planning can come down to a micro-managed level that means a property on one side of a street is subject to draconian restrictions, while an identical property opposite is not.
Two of the most common problems are explained below:
Does an HMO need planning permission?
This is one of those ‘it depends’ answers…
Converting a family home/residential property in to an HMO generally does not need planning permission providing a change of use or major structural change is not involved.
A change of use would be converting a non-residential building in to an HMO.
A major structural change generally involves adding an extension or loft conversion, or altering the outside of a property.
The law about HMOs and planning changed three times in 2010.
Selective licensing is allowed under Article 4 of The Housing Act 2004.
Under selective licensing, a council can take on an extra power that requires all new HMOs in the area defined under selective licensing to apply for planning permission.
Do HMO tenants have to sign separate agreements?
Many landlords wrongly believe only a home converted in bedsits is an HMO and a shared house with three tenants who sign an assured shorthold tenancy agreement is a standard buy to let.
This is not correct. The Housing Act carefully defines an HMO in excruciatingly complicated legal terms that have been added and redefined by later court cases and legislation.
The overwhelming inference from all this legal discussion is the nature of the building and the relationships between the people that live there make a property an HMO, not the type of tenancy agreement that may be in force.
Property investors involved with HMOs should take specific advice from a local professional as HMO rules vary from council to council.
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