A new Bill aiming to protect vulnerable HMO tenants has been introduced that will bring significant changes to the way HMOs are managed and approved.

But the legislation, which has been green-lighted via a ten-minute rule in parliament, is a long way off becoming law as its second reading isn’t scheduled until next year.

Tory MP Ian Levy’s Houses in Multiple Occupation Bill got its first reading in Parliament yesterday when he expressed concern about the impact that subdividing large properties into HMOs can have on the local community and the “appalling” minimum accommodation size for two adults of just 10.22 square metres, “the size of a reasonably-sized garden shed”.

However, the Bill’s second stage has been scheduled for 5th February.

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Levy (pictured, below) also pointed to problems caused by the many HMOs that are listed as hotels or marketed as Airbnbs or bed and breakfasts.

“When a property is not registered as a house in multiple occupancy, it falls through the gap, which means that local authorities such as the council and the police do not have the right of access and cannot implement boundaries, restrictions or measures to support the safeguarding of the clients living there,” he said.

The Bill urges more powers for local authorities, while forcing large HMOs to provide a nominated person responsible for the residents living there on a 24/7 basis as a point of contact.

Levy also suggested that the police should have an input into planning applications for large HMOs because they often have to deal with resulting antisocial behaviour.

He added: “I want to ensure that someone being able to buy a house in a sub-prime area and divide it into multiple bedrooms, while showing absolutely no care for the individual or the local residents, becomes a thing of the past.”

Read more details about the Bill.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Whilst 10.22m2 isn’t a large room there are very many couples who would be extremely grateful for a roof over their heads at an all inclusive and manageable rent. It’s a stepping stone to getting somewhere else – the tenant can get a great landlord reference. It’s the same for single people, mostly single men who’ve been ‘kicked out’ of either the parental or matrimonial home. Rent a room for 6 months in a HMO from a private landlord, get a great reference and they’re on the up and up , property-wise. Would I want to be here 24/7 for my tenants in a HMO? Nope. Would I have to put the rent up to employ somebody to be there 24/7? That would put the rent up so much that this option would not be viable. And if forced to do so I would simply not operate the house as a HMO. Where would the tenants go? I’ve no idea. Over to you, local councils. Good luck with that!

  2. And, of course, HMOs are a social mobility enabler. Many of my HMO tenants are here for a short while whilst working for local ‘shut downs’ or as a stop gap while they’re looking for somewhere more permanent having come in from the EU or other parts of the UK to work locally.

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