Urgent help needed on 1991 Building Reg compliance

Urgent help needed on 1991 Building Reg compliance

8:48 AM, 26th September 2018, About 4 years ago 8

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I desperately need help with what to do with my shop that has self contained flats above re s157.

I have drawn a blank with anyone who can help me ascertain 1991 Building Reg compliance so I’m exempt from licensing.

Therefore I need to consult a legal expert with what I do with 1 week to go.

Many thanks


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9:26 AM, 26th September 2018, About 4 years ago

Rhett Costin

10:01 AM, 26th September 2018, About 4 years ago

I have a copy of a book 'The Building Regulations - Explained and Illustrated', ninth edition, by Vincent Powell-Smith & M J Billington, which says on its front cover is 'based on building regulations 1991'. It is published by Blackwell Scientific Publications. See if you can Google it or Ebay to find a copy or contact the publishers. Failing that I am happy to post it to you, provided you promise to send it back to me. It's pretty comprehensive and hopefully will cover what you want

Chris @ Possession Friend

10:45 AM, 26th September 2018, About 4 years ago

An HMO is a building or part of building (flat) which is :

• Occupied by more than one household (which is defined as occupiers of the same
family and includes spouses, co-habitees, same sex couples and any blood
relative). Where:
o At least one of the households shares or lacks access to a basic amenity
(These include bedsit type properties, houses partly converted into selfcontained
flats and bedsits, hostels, accommodation above shops and
shared houses and flats) or
### The building is fully converted into self-contained flats or studios and the
conversion work does not fully comply with the building standard of the 1991
Building Regulations AND less than 2/3rd of the flats are occupied by long
leaseholders. ###
(Basic amenities means a WC, personal washing facilities and cooking facilities)

What, 'specifically' is your query Sharron ?

Chris @ Possession Friend

10:48 AM, 26th September 2018, About 4 years ago

and I suppose it boils down to, have you had Building Control - Planning approval since 1991 to show the conversion complies. If not, try to get it retrospectively ?

Joe Robertson

11:53 AM, 26th September 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Rhett Costin at 26/09/2018 - 10:01


13:55 PM, 26th September 2018, About 4 years ago

I have also been confused on this issue. While I believe your building IS an HMO, according to my local council (Bournemouth) I don't think you would need a Mandatory License. Bournemouth council give a definition of 'Licensable Houses in Multiple Occupation' for Mandatory Licensing from 1st October on their website. I have self contained converted flats with more than 1/3rd on AST's and to be certain I asked the council 'Do i need a license?' and they said 'No' - without asking the date of conversion. NB their website mentions 1981 building regs but I presume they mean 1991!

Paul Shears

4:14 AM, 27th September 2018, About 4 years ago

Some useful stuff on HMO's:
June 2018. Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
030 3444 0000
Houses in Multiple Occupation & residential property licensing reform Guidance for Local Housing Authorities
2.2 The occupation requirement The Prescribed Description Order 2018 does not change the occupation requirement. For mandatory licensing to apply, the HMO (or Flat in Multiple Occupation) must be occupied by five or more persons, from two or more separate households.
This document has been prepared as a guide for local housing authorities to help them understand how to implement the reforms to houses in multiple occupation (HMO) licensing.
Under the Housing Act 2004, larger HMOs that are 3 or more storeys & occupied by 5 or more persons forming at least 2 separate households are required to be licensed.
With effect from 01/10/18 mandatory licensing of HMOs will be extended so that smaller properties used as HMOs in England which house 5 people or more in 2 or more separate households will in many cases require a licence.
New mandatory conditions to be included in licences have also been introduced, prescribing national min sizes for rooms used as sleeping accommodation & requiring landlords to adhere to council refuse schemes.
Published 20/06/18
Mandatory licensing was introduced in 2006 enacting the relevant provisions of the Housing Act 2004 which required certain large Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) to be licensed before they could be let out to tenants. The definition of a mandatory licensable HMO has remained unchanged since the provisions came into force. However, after 01/10/18 the scope of mandatory licensable HMOs will be extended, bringing a number of other HMOs into the licensing scheme.
What is a House in Multiple Occupation?
The first step to establish whether the building, or part of the building, may require a licence is to establish whether or not it is a HMO within the meaning of the Housing Act 2004.
So check if the building satisfies one of the 5 tests set out in the 2004 Act & whether any exceptions apply.
The standard test:
A house in multiple occupation will meet the standard test (This just defines the building as a HMO and not necessarily one that requires licencing). where the property includes:
1. One or more shared amenities
2. Let out to 3 or more people as their main home
3. Rent is paid by at least one occupier
4. Living in 2 or more households
5. Where the property is exclusively used as their residence
This test covers most HMO properties such as houses & most bedsits arrangements.
Self-contained flat test:
An entire block of purpose-built flats will not be a HMO, but individual flats within may be where:
1. The flat meets the self-contained test (toilet, washing & cooking facilities are all found within the flat & the residence is entirely self-contained behind its own front door)
2. Let out to 3 or more people as their main home
3. Rent is paid by at least one occupier
4. Living in 2 or more households
5. Where the property is exclusively used as their residence
The leaseholder should check their individual flat in these cases.
Converted building test:
A converted building (or a converted part of a building) will be an HMO where:
1. The building is occupied by three or more people,
2. Living in two or more households as their main home
3. Rent is paid by at least one occupier
4. The converted part of the building, or the entire building are used for residential purposes
5. Some of the property does not consist of self-contained flats (though part of the property may be made up of self-contained flats).
In these cases the whole building (or converted part of the building used as a residence) will be classed as a house in multiple occupation rather than the individual units that are rented out.
An example of this would be a property with a mix of bedsits with shared toilet facilities & self-contained flats within the same conversion.
Section 257 HMOs
While buildings comprised of self-contained flats do not normally fall into the HMO category the entire property may be classed as a Section 257 HMO. If the property was not converted to the standard of the 1991 Building Regulations (or if converted after 1991 the Building Regulations in force at the time of conversion) the property will be an HMO if less than two-thirds of the property is owner occupied.
Owner occupation requires occupation by a family member of someone with ownership of the freehold or a lease of at least 21 Yrs. in length.
HMO by declaration
Most designations of HMOs require the property's sole purpose is to be used as the main residence of all of occupiers. So if a property is used in a mixed fashion, then it is not technically an HMO. In these situations, where the local authority believes the property would be an HMO (they pass the standard, flat, or converted building test) & the property is mostly used as a main residence, then they can declare the property is an HMO.
You & anyone else with control or interest in the property (an agent or freeholder) would be given 28 days’ notice of this taking effect.
The exceptions are set out at Schedule 14 of the Act. If it falls within one of the exceptions, then it is not a HMO. Notably, any building occupied by only 2 persons living in 2 households is exempt, as well as a property where an owner occupier lives with 1 or 2 lodgers in addition to their family.
Mandatory Licensing prior to 01/10/18.
Under the pre-October 2018 regulations, a HMO must have a licence under mandatory licensing if the building:
1. Comprises 3 or more storeys;
2. Is occupied by 5 or more people living in 2 or more households; &
3. Contains shared facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.
Mandatory licensing applies nationwide as these are considered high risk properties. However, it is important to be aware that local authorities can require smaller HMOs to be licensed under their discretionary additional licensing schemes.
Mandatory Licensing After October 2018
As part of the Gov’t's wider commitment to improving standards in the private rented sector they consulted on extending the scope of mandatory licensing. On 01/10/18, The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 came into force which extends mandatory licensing by revoking the existing regulations & creating a broader description of HMOs to which mandatory licensing applies.
It is estimated that the extension will bring around 160,000 properties within the scope of mandatory licensing.
New Definition for Mandatory Licensing
The new definition removes the 3-storey requirement which means that a HMO will fall within the mandatory licensing regime if it:
1. Is occupied by 5 or more persons;
2. Is occupied by persons living in two or more separate households; &
3. Meets:
4. The standard test;
5. The self-contained test but is not a purpose-built flat situated in a block comprising 3 or more self-contained flats; or
6. The converted buildings test.
What types of property will now be included?
Houses in Multiple Occupation
All HMOs with 5 or more occupiers living in 2 or more households, regardless of the number of storeys, will need to be licensed. NB: There is no requirement for the building to be converted in any way, so a conventional house could fall within scope if it meets the occupancy requirements.
Flats in Multiple Occupation
The position in relation to flats is rather more complex. Mandatory licensing will not apply to a purpose-built flat in a block with 3 or more self-contained flats. A purpose built flat is a flat that was constructed as a flat as opposed to a flat located in a converted house.
Most flats within large purpose-built blocks will therefore fall outside of the scope of mandatory licensing provided there are 3 or more flats in the block. However, purpose-built flats in smaller blocks with up to 2 self-contained flats will fall within mandatory licensing if the occupancy & household requirements are satisfied. This applies regardless of whether the flat is above or below commercial premises.
Each individual HMO is required to be licensed & not the building within which the HMO is situated.
Exemptions to Mandatory Licensing
Mandatory licensing does not apply to the entirety of a Section 257 HMO. A local authority has the discretion to designate s257 HMOs as licensable under additional licensing schemes. However, individual flats within a s257 HMO could still require a mandatory licence if they meet the mandatory test.
Similarly, purpose-built blocks with 3 or more self-contained flats will be exempt from mandatory licensing, though may still require a licence under the council's additional licensing schemes.
Applying for a Mandatory Licence
Each local authority has its own forms & procedure for making an application for a HMO licence. Most application forms are available through the local authority's website. If you are in doubt as to which local authority your property is in then use the RLA's Local Authority Network. Once the form is completed it should be returned with the appropriate fee.
If an application is made & it transpires that the property is not actually a licensable HMO then the licence application fee is fully refundable.
Once an application is duly made then no offence for operating an unlicensed HMO can be committed. Similarly, landlord wishing to gain possession using a Section 21 notice may only do so once & application for the licence has been made.
A landlord operating a licensable HMO on or after 01/10/18 will require a licence. A landlord who fails to apply for the appropriate licence (or a temporary exemption) before 01/10/18 will be committing a criminal offence.
Penalties for operating an unlicensed HMO can include a prosecution brought by the local authority with unlimited fines imposed if found guilty or a financial penalty of up to £30,0000.
Other penalties include rent repayment orders brought by tenants or the local authority & a prohibition on serving a valid section 21 notice to seek possession of the property. Repeat offenders may also be subject to banning orders & risk being placed on the rogue landlord database.
Transitional Periods
The new regulations make transitional provisions to allow landlords time to comply with the new rules.
Properties currently licensed under Mandatory or Additional Licensing
• The existing licence will be valid, & its conditions will apply until the date the licence expires
• Note that when the licence is renewed the new HMO licence conditions relating to minimum sleeping room sizes & waste disposal requirements will apply.
Properties currently licensed under a Selective Licensing scheme that will be subject to Mandatory Licensing after October 2018
• The existing selective licence has effect as if it is a HMO licence until its expiry. The existing conditions in the selective licence will continue to apply until the date the licence expires
• Once the selective licence expires, the property will then require a HMO licence to comply with mandatory licensing & the licence-holder will have to apply for a HMO licence.
• The new HMO licence conditions relating to minimum sleeping room sizes & waste disposal requirements will apply to the new HMO licence even if there is an existing tenancy in place which pre-dates the new HMO licence.

Michael Johnson - Amzac Estates

17:07 PM, 27th September 2018, About 4 years ago

Cardiff Council did this exact same request with us a few years ago. We contacted the building control department and they helped us put in a retrospective building regulation application to meet 1991 building regulations, the control officer came out , inspected the building and issued the certificate.
To be fair they were very helpful although it was expensive as I recall.
Try contacting building control in your area ( assuming you haven't already)

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