Bath and Bristol Councils’ plan blanket HMO Licensing across the cities

Filed in Bath, Bristol, Landlords by on 12th September, 2016 0 Comments
Both Bath and Bristol are intent on introducing a blanket licensing scheme. Something that ALL Wessex will object to most strongly.
Whilst we accept that some areas within Bristol and Bath may benefit from HMO Licensing we do not accept that it should be applied to a whole city. We are opposed to rogue landlords but believe there are far more good landlords. We do not believe that sufficient evidence exists to justify such a plan.
 
We have yet to receive details and I suspect that none will be forthcoming until the results of the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG)’s “Extending Mandatory Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation” paper (dated Nov 2015) are known. The paper required Local Authorities to respond to a set of questions.
 
Mandatory licensing as we know it today was introduced in April 2006 where HMO’s relevant to mandatory licensing are defined as, “HMO’s comprising of non self-contained accommodation of three or more storeys occupied by five or more people. who do not form a single household (e.g. the building is occupied by more than one family)”.
 
The new definition could include HMO’s with less than 5 unrelated people in occupation within property types such as those with less than three storeys, converted blocks of flats and flats above and below commercial properties. Room size limitations may also be imposed.
 
The new definition for Mandatory Licensing would be introduced by Central Government by law, it would be for Local Authorities to administer and enforce.
 
The new Mandatory Licensing definition is due for release in 2016 as such we believe this announcement to be imminent and believe that it will be announced in November.
 
Local Authorities are therefore unlikely to enforce new additional or selective licensing until then. This is possibly why we are hearing that some Local Authorities have withdrawn from introducing any new additional or selective licensing that may have been planned.
 
Why would a Local Authority spend money and resource on introducing any licensing scheme that may in any case be included within the new definition of Mandatory Licensing?
 
As soon as we hear anything we will let you know.

About the Author ()

Rob Crawford is the chairman of the Association of Local Landlords (Wessex). Rob is a practicing landlord with a property portfolio that includes small private residential properties and HMO's. Rob is a qualified letting agent and former owner of Kingfisher Lettings & Management. He is now a share holder of the successful online lettings company Lettingsupermarket.com.

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