Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) fitness standard Under the Housing Act 2004, a house in multiple occupation (HMO) is defined as any building or flat occupied by two or more households which share basic amenities’.
Mandatory licensing will be introduced for all HMOs of three storeys or more and of those occupied by at least five people forming two or more households.
Consultation continues regarding the exact details of licensing but the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has indicated that it is unlikely that properties made up solely of self-contained flats occupied by single households of no more than two sharers will required a license. However this may change depending on the results of the consultation.
Shared flats with five or more occupiers are likely to be included but consultation is also continuing about this. The ODPM has advised that it hopes to start licensing in the autumn of this year.
It is important to remember that the new definition of HMOs does include houses and buildings with shared facilities and also all flats and houses that are occupied by people living on a sharing basis, such as students or groups of professionals.
The Act tightly states that a household as a family, (including a couple living together as husband and wife, and same sex couples in a similar relationship) and any of their relatives.
The Registration schemes are locally based and it is likely that each local authority will differ.
Local housing authorities have been given the power to request that specific works be carried out to make an HMO fit for the number of occupants. The other alternative is the authority may simply limit the number of occupants if the property does not meet the required standards, which include:
• an adequate number of suitably located fixed baths or showers and wash hand basins for the exclusive use of the occupants, each of which is provided with a satisfactory supply of hot and cold water;
• an adequate number of suitably located water closets for the exclusive use of the occupants;
• satisfactory facilities for the storage, preparation and cooking of food, including an adequate number of sinks with a satisfactory supply of hot and cold water; and
• a proper and safe means of escape from fire and adequate fire precautions.
Some regulatory factors being consulted on by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister include:
Immigration Act revised 2016 should a landlord or letting agent fail to ensure ALL tenants/occupiers have a righto reside for the duration of the tenancy then they may be fined £3000 for each breach. The Secretary of State may instruct the landlord to remove such persons without the need of a court order by way of reasonable force
Labour market enforcement - restriction on illegal migrants to work. A labour market enforcement undertaking (an “LME undertaking”) is an undertaking by the person giving it (the “subject”) to comply with any prohibitions, restrictions and requirements set out in the undertaking
Under section 42 of the County Courts Act 1984 it is possible for the Court to transfer a matter from the County Court to the High Court for enforcement but leave (permission) of the Court is required first. The transfer time varies from court to court and can take up to 28 days, but normally takes far less. An application to seek permission can be made either at the time of making the possession claim or after possession has been ordered.