West Lancashire Borough Council is reminding Private Sector Landlords about changes to the law relating to the licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
If landlords don’t comply with the new legislation and licence any HMOs they have they could face prosecution or be issued with a civil penalty. If the Council issues a civil penalty against a landlord who has failed to licence a HMO they could be fined up to £30,000. Landlords who face criminal proceedings for failing to register a HMO can face unlimited fines.
Currently a HMO only has to be licensed if five or more people forming two or more households are living there who share cooking or bathing facilities and it has three or more storeys.
From Monday 1 October 2018 the requirement for the property to have three or more storeys is being removed. A HMO must have a licence if five or more unrelated people forming two or more households are living there who share either cooking or bathing facilities no matter how many storeys it has. For example, a two-storey property being rented by five or more unrelated students sharing a kitchen will need a licence as of 1 October 2018.
Landlords can download a HMO licence application form at www.westlancs.gov.uk/hmo or by contacting the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team on 01695 585279, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If any landlords have any questions about HMOs they can also contact the team.
Jacqui Sinnott-Lacey, West Lancashire Borough Council Director of Housing and Inclusion, said: “The Council wants to raise awareness of this change in legislation by the government among landlords so they can get the HMOs they own licensed before the deadline of Monday 1 October 2018. If they need any help they can contact the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team.”
Private landlords can also find a lot of useful advice on the Council webpage www.westlancs.gov.uk/landlords.