Landlords of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) could be facing penalties of up to £30,000 if they fail to adhere to new rules coming into force next week, according to Richard James Estate Agents.
Currently, all HMOs of three storeys or more and containing 5 or more people must be licensed by Swindon Borough Council. However, from Monday, 1 October 2018, all HMOs of any size that contain five or more people must have a HMO licence.
According to Swindon Borough Council, there are approximately 130 licenced HMOs in the town, however these new regulations could more than triple the number requiring registration.
Sue Gidney, Lettings Director for Richard James, is calling for all landlords to make themselves aware of the changes and to protect themselves from potential penalties. Those who do not have, or have not applied for, a licence from Monday will be at risk of a fine of up to £30,000. Additionally, if a property is not licenced, a Section 21 notice cannot be served to end a tenant’s Assured Shorthold Tenancy and the tenants or local authority can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal for the repayment of up to 12 months’ rent.
Sue explained: “Whilst this change may affect a relatively small number of landlords in Swindon, the penalties someone will face are huge. The licence also can’t be back-dated and so if a landlord hasn’t already taken action then it should be a top priority to have an application submitted by the end of the week.
“At Richard James we’ve been working with all of our HMO landlords and those who will fall into the new regulations, to ensure that they are ahead of all changes necessary. These latest changes affect all tenancies, including those already in place, so no-one can afford to be complacent.
“Laws and regulations often change and so having a professional letting agent manage your property can give you the assurance that you’re being looked after legally, as well as your property and gives tenants additional peace of mind too.”
For more information on how Richard James can help you let your property or to see the properties currently available to rent, visitwww.incentivised.com.