The Landlords Union “Press Liaison” Questions HMO Minimum Room Size Impact Assessment

The Landlords Union “Press Liaison” Questions HMO Minimum Room Size Impact Assessment

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The Landlords Union “Press Liaison” Questions HMO Minimum Room Size Impact Assessment

We were recently approached by a landlord of a four bedroom HMO property whose Local Authority had contacted her to remind of the approaching restrictions on minimum room sizes. One of this landlords bedrooms was slightly below the 6.51 sq metre limitation, which becomes effective from 1st October under  ‘ The Licensing of Homes in Multiple Occupation ( Mandatory Conditions of Licensing ) Regulations, 2018.

The landlord’s options are quite limited. She will have to serve a Section 21 Notice on the tenant of the smaller bedroom, who, hitherto, has been content with this accommodation for the level of rent paid. Its worth pointing out that so too were the Local Authority, as there is ample residual living space in the rest of the property.

Also, and as a consequence, the rent for the remaining three tenants will have to increase to the maximum that the market rate can bear. This will be more than currently payable, but no doubt still at some loss to the landlord.

Interestingly, there is a detailed 22 page Impact Assessment published by MHCLG, albeit omitting the number of units of accommodation that are foreseen to be lost by this legislation, the amount of rental increase other tenants in the property will incur and the resultant financial loss to landlords from rent not recoverable.

We have written to Cynthia Brathwaite , the author of the Impact Assessment to ask:-

  1. How many units of accommodation are expected to be lost, and
  2. What impact the reduction in units of accommodation will have financially on landlord and tenants?

Unbelievably, the Impact Assessment Report makes no reference to these fundamental issues!

It is suspected the reasons these factors are not covered is because the government believe, naively, that Landlords will just downsize without financial compensation and suffer the loss of rent ‘on the chin’ together with the license fee.

[ The above links to another piece of work about the causes of rent increases, soon to be published. Watch this space! ]

Whilst we are waiting for a response to the fundamental questions raised, it would be useful if members have any similar experiences that publicise in regards to “true consequences”. Please post comments below or email Press@Property118.com



Comments

Robert Mellors

2 months ago

It is my understanding that the minimum room size requirement relates to the granting of a HMO licence, in which case does it even apply to to the 4 bed property you refer to, as that would not be licensable?

Joe Robertson

2 months ago

I have a 5 bed HMO where 1 room will be deemed too small for occupation. I bought the property and worked out the yield based on the 5 beds being let meaning the property is soon to be far less valuable. My only option is to evict all tenants, remove the unsightly fire alarm, emergency lighting and fire doors and sell to a family as that's the only market I could attract at market value.
It wouldn't stack up yield wise to an investor on an single AST and HMO investors will be now ruled out.
I've never struggled to let the room or keep tenants in - its always worked for everyone!

Luke P

2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 08/05/2018 - 14:03
Some areas have mandatory/additional licensing that captures all HMOs of any size.

Clint

2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Joe Robertson at 08/05/2018 - 15:14
I had a beautiful Edwardian house that I let out in 1996 where I had to change all the wide doors to fire doors, fit wash basins in every room, fire alarm system, etc. where at the time Croydon Council was operating the HMO scheme.
It all worked out well until around 2006 after which the regulations seemed to just increase, along with the work load. Anyway, I thought being an HMO which met all the regulations, I would get a much better price having had to have applied for planning permission and the rest of the work to bring to the standard for rental purposes however, a few agents that viewed the property said that it would fetch a much lower price as there weren't many investors looking for such properties and it would only suit large families. Many original features had also been ruined such as the replacement of the doors with fire doors, wash basin in lounge, etc.
Anyway, I sold up as it was all too much unnecessary work and now I am stuck with all my properties licensed which once again has increased the workload unnecessarily.
I recently have had an officer from the council write to me and tell me that the one bed I am renting to a mother and child is overcrowding although, it easily meets the space standard. I had pointed this out to the officer but he says there are new rules that have come out and councils have special powers to tackle overcrowding but I could not find them anywhere so am waiting for him to send me the regulation.

Ross Tulloch

2 months ago

In Southwark, London where licensing is mandatory for HMO, and they deem this to be 3 or more people in 2 or more households, their minimum room sizes are 8m if there is a living room, and 10m if there is not. I have no living room there and so the room at 8.61m was too small. They said to me that they wanted the room to be permanently unoccupied. They were not interested in the loss of a room (occupied happily for years) nor the fact that the other rooms would be more expensive, as in a comment above, there would be a living room. I took them to tribunal, and before this a mediation was arranged with the council. We met at the flat and after 3 weeks they gave in, I guess because they would loose at tribunal... It is the people at the bottom who would suffer, but most of these regulations are by people who do not have a clue about the impact of what they are doing

Chris Daniel

2 months ago

We need to accumulate instances ( short stories ) where Landlords have to evict a Tenant from a bedroom under 6.51 sq/ M. and also capture the resultant rent increases. It goes without saying that Landlords should be explaining the 'enforced' provision of the legislation on them to their tenants and should not be 'taking the fall' for this legislation.
Please post your examples of the effect of this.

Chris Daniel

2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 08/05/2018 - 14:03Yes Robert, it was in a licensed area so affects less than 5 occupants as Luke points out.

Simon Williams

2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ross Tulloch at 08/05/2018 - 16:45I think Southwark's standards illustrate the real danger of the government's latest reforms; namely the apparently open-ended ability the government has given to councils to go above 6.1 sq meters in their area. In my area, Cambridge, the council are proposing to stick with 6.1 sq m unless there is no communal space, in which case it goes to 7.1 sq m. There is going to be a bonkers variation around the country, making HMO planning/future-proofing by landlords very difficult. For example, suppose you invested a lot of money meeting the specification for your area, then there is a local election and another political party get in and want to make the minimum space standard bigger? Your whole business model could be totally shafted over night (unless you make all your rooms great big doubles). At least with central government, things usually need legislation and so tend, in practice, to be more stable. Left to local councils, change will be an ever-present risk.

Ross Tulloch

2 months ago

Southwark do not want to evict anyone. So an existing tenant can stay as long as they want. But you cannot replace them. So the quiet reduction of available rooms and increase in rent will not be seen as their fault.

David Price

2 months ago

Can anyone point to anything this government has done which has eased the housing situation, anything which has made more property available to rent or buy? I cannot think of anything so I am genuinely interested in the views of others.

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