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investments
03-04-2006, 15:30 PM
The Housing Act itself seems to imply that buildings of self contained converted flats that do not meet the 1991 Building Regulations should be licenced under the mandatory licence scheme.

My local housing authority says that if they are self contained then they do not need a licence - but if there are any shared facilities then it will.

Is this correct as the Act (as read on the ODPM webpage) seems to contradict this and stipulates that converted flats (regardless of being self contained or having shared facilities) that do not meet the Building Regs 1991 should be licenced.

Does anyone have the correct answer? Am I just misunderstanding the statute itself?

Thanks

red40
04-04-2006, 09:16 AM
Housing Act 2004 section 55(3) the prescribed description for the purposes of Manadatory licensing.

The prescribed description can be found in 'The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Descriptions)(England) Order 2006, Statutory Instrument 371, section 1(2)

Section 1(2)- says
'This Order applies to any HMO in England, other than a converted block of flats to which section 257 of the Act applies'.

Therefore any property that has been converted entirely into self contained flats is exempt from Manadatory licensing, doesn't mean it will be exempt under selective or additional thought.:)

js12111
04-04-2006, 15:04 PM
Hi all,
My local council (London Borough Waltham Forest - LBWF) has included in its draft policy self contained flats not to the Building regs 1991. In order to sidestep this a certificate from a RICS surveyor would need to be obtained, however the cost of a surveyor is charged out at £160 per hour and would require builders on site to expose rsj's and inaccesible loft spaces. Calculations would then have to be done for all structural alterations. Say £2000 for the surveyor and putting things back after the inspection.

Part of the inspection process as far as LBWF is concerened is a fire assesment and building inspection. Un-fortunatly no one seems to have told the building control department they are undertaking this work:( I'm waiting for a call back!!

investments
07-04-2006, 14:24 PM
I have now spoken to the Council again...., and surprise surprise they have changed their mind about most of the definitions they originally gave the public.....

Looks like they have been giving out incorrect information all over the show! Half the properties on my portfolio (i am a letting agent) which I was told would be exempt are now not.....

Apparantly any converted flats over 3 storeys that do not meet the buiding regs (ie. done before 1991/92 or done without permission) regardless of being self contained or not will need to be licencable. However, when I asked how we were supposed to tell whether they met regs or not they didn't have an answer.

One of the officers ideas was for me to give our whole portolio details over to Building Control to conduct checks on all of them...... I still haven't ascertained what other implications would arise from this if any were to be found without the necessary consents....

How are you getting on js12111?
Has anyone else been experiencing similar sorts of cases?

red40
07-04-2006, 14:53 PM
I can only refer you to 'The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Descriptions)(England) Order 2006, Statutory Instrument 371, section 1(2), which specically says that a section 257 HMO (self contained flats) is exempt form mandatory licensing, there is no statutory instrument yet for self contained flats. Of course they maybe using additional or selective licensing, if they aren't you may aswell go before the Property Rental Tribunal.

You only have to search the local authority internet sites to see that HMO's that are all self contained are exempt, because they dont share any facilities.

Good luck investments, you might need it:)

Maruca
08-04-2006, 17:33 PM
After scoring trough regulations I am still confused about new regulations.

I have a Victorian house which was divided in four flats in around 1984 - with not plans. My family and I occupy 2 of the flats (which are not renovated) and let out the other 2. which have been updated to more or less comply with the 1991 building regulation, but it is difficult for me to assess that and would need the help of someone. But whom,, Architect?? Surveyor ?? Council Official ?? …and at reasonable cost …I am not sure.
Also as my family and I occupy half of the building (less that the “less than two thirds owner occupier” rule to be exempt ) would the council be allowed to enter my home and/or request that I update my living accommodation??
Can any one please advice me??

red40
08-04-2006, 19:09 PM
Yes they can Maruca, under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 which relates to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System:)

js12111
08-04-2006, 21:05 PM
The guy at building control in LBWF came back to say I should talk to the HMO team that work for the environmentl health department regarding the fire risk assesment and the building regulation compliance certificate. :rolleyes: will phone them next week!!

Maruca
11-04-2006, 10:46 AM
Yes they can Maruca, under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 which relates to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System:)
Thank you for your advice. I have been informed that Flats in a HMO building would have a lower market value. Which I believe, as tenants say they would not like to live in a HMO building.
Have now given notice to tenants in one flat and will explore to either get a retrospective planning application or sell.
I am still uncertain if after exercising either of the above options my property would be exempted from HMO Licensing.
I understand that the government should protect the public, but perhaps the new legislation is to harsh on responsible Landlords “modestly” like me. I have not been a Landlord for long but my tenants get a five star service at a lower market rent. And as I live in the property the service sometimes is a 24/7 service.
Perhaps it would be less stressful -and more profitable- to sell up and move my “pension” to other activity. At present I am getting a yield of under 3 pc. While some shares are given a 19pc return!!
Time for reflection for some landlords

Sorry if duplicated.. not familiar with system yet..!

js12111
18-04-2006, 14:37 PM
Had a further (3 or 4 ) conversations with various departments in LBWF. Having said that the property is included within the scope of the scheme they have received further advice from (Odpm)? and this may change things with regards to self contained flats.

No licence packs available till the end of April anyway!

SAB123
23-04-2006, 17:11 PM
can Js12111 advise if LBWF council stated that the converted flats need to be in a 3+ stoery building for it to qualify as a mandatory licensing?

js12111
23-04-2006, 20:46 PM
hi Sab123,

Re: LBWF. To be absolutley sure you would have to get the council HMO team round to have a look. However as mentioned in a previous post there could be some 'tweaking' of the scope.:cool:

I had the council guy round friday to inspect the flats and he was saying they are looking for a common sense approach to the legislation. However, it was mentioned that I could be (could be) looking at an integrated smoke alarm system with central control panel for all three flats (highly impractical) not to mention the cost!

Quite how I am to be advised further following the visit is not clear. there are still problems re: getting the license packs / scope sorted. The other possibility if not able to get Buildings department to issue a 1991 building cert is to get the building rated under the HHSRS if you get a low score then the house /flats do not constitute a risk and can be issued a license in this way.

SAB123
24-04-2006, 10:56 AM
I spoke to LBWF today and they advised it is only mandatory licensing for 3+ storeys only at this present time. I have flat in a 2 storey 3 flat building which was converted prior to 1991 building regs and according to them i do not require license at the moment.

Maruca
06-05-2006, 16:04 PM
After scoring trough regulations I am still confused about new regulations.

I have a Victorian house which was divided in four flats in around 1984 - with not plans. My family and I occupy 2 of the flats (which are not renovated) and let out the other 2. which have been updated to more or less comply with the 1991 building regulation, but it is difficult for me to assess that and would need the help of someone. But whom,, Architect?? Surveyor ?? Council Official ?? …and at reasonable cost …I am not sure.
Also as my family and I occupy half of the building (less that the “less than two thirds owner occupier” rule to be exempt ) would the council be allowed to enter my home and/or request that I update my living accommodation??
Can any one please advice me??

Just in case my case helps someone.
My council would accept an independent inspection (surveyor, architect) to certify that the entire property complies with the 1991 regulations.
Had a surveyor to inspect my property and he will advice me on the works to be carried out to comply with the 1991 regulations. After I have carried out all recommended works, the surveyor will inspect my property again, and if all works had been carried out to his satisfaction, he will give a letter indicating that he had inspected the property and the building complies with the 1991. I will then have not obligation to register my property as an HMO as the building would be to 1991 building regulations.

I am taking this route as I do not wish the council to came into my home, and it is not that I have any thing sinister to hide, only the feeling that it is an invasion of my privacy.
In my case is not much work to do, but it looks like in my own flat I would have to replace wonderful Victorian doors for fire doors, which I find upsetting as this doors have been in the building since its construction around 150 ago.

red40
07-05-2006, 08:56 AM
As long as the local authority accept that Maruca make sure you get it in writing from the relevant person.

This is important as the Housing Act 2004 says the work had to be completed by 1st June 1991, and since you would be doing the work in 2006, you may come a cropper.

But as I said previously until a legal challenge is made on this new act you wouldn't be exempt from the council coming into your property anyway whether its a HMO or not, as they would use Part 1 of the act (HHSRS), which applies to any residenetial dwelling (even mine):confused:

Maruca
08-05-2006, 12:41 PM
[QUOTE=red40]As long as the local authority accept that Maruca make sure you get it in writing from the relevant person.


Have email from council official indicating that "written statement from a Charted Survetor will suffice"
Also attended the course to be a “certify landlord” and I feel I have taken responsible steps to comply with the law, so lets see what develops in the future.
However I am reconsidering my “landlording” activities. As mention before is a lot of hassle for a lvery ittle return ( capital growth marginal since I bought the property). The area were I rent is oversupply and I can see landlords having to reduce rent to attract new tenants. So beside the -new- ever increasing regulations, one has to consider longer void periods, low market rent and the added risk of having bad tenants..
I got into been a Landlord with great enthusiasm and long term view. Have work very hard and expend all my capital in providing a, not only good, but excellent service but FOR ME the rewards have been minimal and although I would give it some more time …. do not believe the renting business is, at present, a good business to be in.....