Some landlords 'still clueless' about HMO rules

by Sarah Ashcroft

A number of landlords in the UK are still not up to speed with the relevant regulations regarding the issue of house sharing, it has been claimed.

KIS Lettings, which is based in the north-east, has carried out research that discovered some property owners are totally clueless about the rules when it comes to letting more than one person live in their rented accommodation. As a result, they are placing themselves at severe risk of fines and other penalties for breaching the guidelines.

Landlords who own a house in multiple occupation (HMO) - such as a building that is rented out to students or is split into various bedsits - face a number of unique challenges and requirements in comparison to those who rent out property to single dwellers.

For instance, they must have additional fire safety measures installed, which can mean calling in experts to provide safety certificates for the smoke alarms in place within a building. Meeting the rules when it comes to household appliances is another priority.

HMO owners also need to think about overcrowding, as this goes against the rules. Ensuring shared areas are kept in a good state and providing the right facilities for the number of people in residence is also a must.

The local council has to be provided with an up-to-date gas safety certificate on an annual basis, a license must be gained for each HMO in a landlord's portfolio and there can even be specific requirements set out by particular local authorities.

Ajay Jagota, managing director of KIS Lettings, said: "We've come a long way since 2007 when around half of landlords had no idea about HMO regulations, but recent news reports made it clear that a scary number are still unaware they need licenses, or just aren't bothering to apply for them.

"What landlords need to remember is if they don't meet their legal responsibilities they're risking huge fines or even jail."

It seems clear that it is not worth taking a risk when it comes to HMO regulations, so brushing up on landlord law should be a priority for plenty of property owners.

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Published on: January 24, 2013

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