Warwick is the latest local authority planning to more than double the size of its HMO licencing scheme, starting in January 2024. This follows a public consultation earlier this year.
Its full cabinet is to meet on Wednesday (9th August) to approve the scheme after reviewing the results of its survey.
The new scheme will see its existing HMO additional licencing scheme continued and expanded to include smaller HMOs comprising three and four persons as well as tenants living in purpose-built blocks of flats including student accommodation.
Under the current regulations only HMOs with five or more persons living as two or more households are subject to mandatory licensing.
There are roughly 600 HMOs already licensed under ‘mandatory licensing’ within Warwick and approximately 800 HMOs which would be required to obtain a license under the expected ‘additional licensing’ scheme.
A report to be considered by councillors says "a significant proportion of known non-licensable HMOs, are being managed sufficiently ineffectively as to give rise/or to be likely to give rise to issues including fire safety, poor housing conditions/hazards, noise nuisance and ineffective waste management.
"It can also be inferred from the data that unknown non-licensable HMOs are also generating similar types of
problems. Additional Licensing offers an opportunity to bring all HMOs within the district up to a minimum standard ensuring that those homes are well managed and maintained."
Councillor Paul Wightman (pictured), Portfolio Holder for Housing, adds: "Including more homes under our umbrella would ensure that landlords of HMOs submit detailed information regarding themselves and their properties including important safety documents such as fire alarms, gas and electrical safety certificates.
"If approved, it will also mean that properties are thoroughly inspected by Council Officers before a licence is issued to ensure they meet minimum standards with conditions requiring the landlord to maintain and manage the property effectively.
"This measure can only increase the level of assurance that can be provided to residents who live in these properties and will undoubtedly help to keep people safe.”
If the Cabinet agrees to proceed with the additional scheme, further approval will be required by the borough’s Full Council in the autumn to agree the licence fees. These will range from a discounted rate of £800 for a smaller HMO to £1,116 full-fee for a larger one.
If these are approved, it will then become a legal requirement to obtain a licence in order to operate any HMO in Warwick District from January 2024.