A plethora of recent cases has highlighted that many landlords are letting HMO properties without the correct licence in place, risking heavy fines, as well as potentially putting tenants’ safety at risk.
A Hounslow landlord who let an overcrowded and vermin-infested unlicensed HMO was ordered to pay nearly £40,000 in fines. A total of 16 people were found packed into the house and its outbuildings, residents included a family with a six-month-old baby living in the garden shed.
In another recent case, two West London landlords breached fire safety regulations after a fatal fire occurred at their property in July last year, it turned out they had failed to register their property as an HMO and as a result were fined more than £50,000.
The pair were prosecuted by Hounslow Council, which said had the landlords applied for an HMO licence it would have been inspected to ensure it met fire safety standards.
Licensing for HMOs was introduced in April 2006 to try and improve standards in the sector, referring to both the physical state of the property and management of tenancy issues.
“The need to obtain an HMO licence is there not only to help try and improve standards for tenants across the board, but to also potentially save lives,” says Steve Jones managing director of Rentguard Insurance.
House in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are becoming an increasingly popular buy-to-let choice for investors as they allow landlords to maximise their space and get good rental yields from multiple tenants.
The term HMO refers to properties lived in by three or more unrelated tenants – in most case strangers – who share a bathroom, kitchen facilities or living area.
Even if a property is leased to or managed by another person or organisation, it is important to remember that the application for a licence must be made by the property owner.
“The application process checks that the owner is a fit and able person to hold a HMO licence, and that the property is suitable for the number of people that are going to be living there,” explains Jones.
Licensing is mandatory for a property to be occupied as an HMO regardless of rent being paid, or on any formal tenancy arrangements being in place.
HMO investors should also check they have the correct property insurance in place so they are covered for this type of property.
“Due to the rise in popularity of this type of property, many insurers, such as ourselves, are now offering specialist policies for HMOs and properties with mixed tenant types,” explains Jones.
Those wishing to find out more about Licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation, should visit: https://www.gov.uk/gov…
Article Courtesy of: RentGuard