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Landlords with properties in Woking Borough are being encouraged to check whether they need a licence ahead of upcoming changes to national legislation.
From 1 October 2018, a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence will be required if a property is occupied by five or more people in two or more households, regardless of the number of storeys in the building.
A household is considered a single family, cohabiting couple or an individual. Previously, legislation only applied to properties with three or more storeys.
All landlords across the Borough need to check whether they now need to be licensed.
Rental properties must meet certain standards and be and suitable for the number of people who live there. Under the new regulations, a property is a licensable HMO if:
- It is rented to five or more people from two or more households.
- It has shared facilities like a kitchen or bathroom.
- It has any number of storeys.
Cllr Debbie Harlow, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “As a local authority, we work with our private landlords to ensure they receive the help and support needed to meet their legal requirements and ensure the high standards of the Borough’s private rental accommodation.
“With these national changes to the regulations, I would therefore encourage anyone who lets property with the Borough to take action and check if these new regulations affect them.
“The extension of the existing regulations that cover Houses of Multiple Occupation will help us to ensure that landlords who do not already meet the required standards, or in worse cases, fall well below them, are brought to our attention and where necessary, action taken against them.”
Landlords who already have a HMO licence or have a Selective Licence for their HMO (with five or more occupiers) under the recently introduced Selective Licensing Scheme need not apply until their existing licence expires, even if that is after 1 October 2018.
Landlords can apply online now. Applications must be received by 1 October 2018 or the property will be treated as unlicensed and could be penalised with a reduced licence period, prosecution or fined up to £30,000 per offence. A licence will be valid for three years.
For more information about the changes to the HMO regulations, or to apply for a licence, please visit www.woking.gov.uk/hmolicensing or call the Council’s Housing Standards Team on 01483 755855.