HMO owners and associations are being urged to support calls for a rethink of plans to remove licensing requirements for HMOs used as asylum accommodation.
Property lawyer at JMW, David Smith, wants the High Court to agree to a judicial review of changes outlined in the proposed Houses in Multiple Occupation (Asylum-Seeker Accommodation) Regulations which would exempt landlords in England and Wales offering asylum accommodation from regulations governing everything from electrical safety to minimum room sizes.
They would no longer have to register with local authorities and could house asylum seekers for two years without getting an HMO licence.
It's feared that some landlords could split their property portfolios, using the worst ones for asylum seekers, while some rent-to-rent operators could leverage arrangements to pick up poor-quality properties and fill them with asylum seekers.
Smith says the government's position is 'morally wrong'� and would create a two-tier system. He hopes HMO landlords will come forward and be interveners in the review.
'They wouldn't have to do anything or pay costs, but it would tell the government they aren't happy that poor quality competitors can take their rubbish property to the Home Office and continue to let it,'� he tells LandlordZONE.
Regulations have been introduced to Parliament and could take effect at the end of the summer, according to Smith, who adds: 'A bit of pressure now would be hugely effective '� we just need a few people to put their heads above the parapet.'�
Earlier this year, 137 organisations including Crisis, Shelter, the Refugee Council and Amnesty International wrote to Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Housing Secretary Michael Gove urging them to abandon the plans. They said it would leave asylum seekers housed in unsafe accommodation with inadequate protections against fire and overcrowding.
Any interested landlords should contact Smith via email.