Harlow landlords to have tougher regulations in autumn

News / Tue 5th Jun 2018 at 10:07am

HUNDREDS of extra landlords who live in, own or let a shared house or flat are expected to have to meet tougher housing standards when new regulations are introduced in the autumn.

Those failing to apply for a new Houses in Multiple Occupation licence by October 1 will be committing a criminal offence.

Councils across Essex are now encouraging Houses in Multiple Occupation landlords to have their say on the new requirements.

The new Houses in Multiple Occupation licensing laws are set to increase the number of HMOs requiring a licence and are likely to affect hundreds of properties across the county.

For many properties which have not previously required a licence to have one, from 1 October all homes let to five or more people who form two or more households and who share at least one basic amenity such as a bathroom, WC or kitchen, will require a licence to continue operating.

Councils across Essex are now working to improve the required standards of shared accommodation and revise amenity standards guidelines, such as room sizes and shared facilities, to move in line with the changes to the law.

From October 1, Colchester Borough Council like local and district councils across the county, will decide whether thousands of HMOs across Essex are suitable to be licensed, having regard to the new guidance on HMO amenity standards.

Adrian Pritchard, Chief Executive of Colchester Borough Council, said: ‘We’re committed to ensuring there are good quality homes within the private housing sector in Colchester by being part of the development of standards for HMOs across Essex.”

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3 Comments for Harlow landlords to have tougher regulations in autumn:

2018-06-05 10:30:29

Harlow Council has already introduced a mandatory licensing scheme for HMOs, in 2015. As so often, Harlow took the lead in addressing the issue, to which the rest of the County and the Country is now catching up. This reflected the impact that HMOs can have on the neighbourhood if not properly managed. It should be recognised however that HMOs are an important part of the housing mix, particularly for those that have no other affordable option. As always, a balance, which needs constant review.

2018-06-05 13:50:55

This is all well and good, but they must realise like any other business costs will be passed on, in this case in rents. Like Jon mentions HMOs are an important part of the mix.

S A Sullivan
2018-06-05 20:13:17

Jon is correct about the Additional Licensing Scheme introduced in Harlow in 2015. It was very well done. But licensing is only half the story. To control the development of HMOs the Council needs to require planning consent before the properties are converted. This is achieved by establishing the relevant Article 4 Direction for the whole of the Harlow District. This would not stop the creation of HMOs but it would ensure that they only arose in suitable buildings and places. Stevenage established this for the whole of the borough last year and I cannot see why Harlow Council could not do the same for the people of this town.

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