The mandatory licensing criteria for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) is changing.
From Monday 1 October 2018, all HMOs which are occupied by five or more people and home to two or more households will legally require a licence. Currently, only properties of three of more storeys need a council licence.
Landlords who require a licence under the new rules must submit their application to Basildon Council by 1 October. Anyone operating a HMO without the appropriate licence is at risk of receiving a criminal record and an unlimited fine.
Cllr Don Morris, Chairman of Basildon Council’s Housing Committee, said: “The private rented sector is continuing to grow in the borough, with a particular increase in the number of HMOs. We welcome these measures, which are designed to ensure that properties are free from hazards and fit for purpose, with minimum space requirements being imposed to prevent overcrowding.
“We are committed to continuing to work with landlords to ensure our residents have access to good quality, affordable and safe accommodation which meets their needs. It’s important that tenants and members of the public are not afraid to come forward with their concerns so we can hold any landlords who fail to fulfil their legal obligations to account.”
All HMOs, whether they are covered by the licensing criteria or not, are subject to periodic inspection by the Environmental Health Team.
Basildon Council is in the process of writing to landlords with further information about the changes.