Private landlords in St Helens are advised that as from Monday 1 October, the licensing regulations of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) will change.
Under previous legislation, landlords of properties of three storeys or more high and occupied by five or more people (excluding families), which make up two or more households need to obtain a licence from the local authority.
However, mandatory licensing will now apply to all types of HMOs regardless of the number of storeys, including commercial properties at ground floor level.
During the first- three months of the new legislation coming into effect, St Helens Council will work closely with landlords to support and advise with regard to new licensing applications.
If landlords fail to make a valid application within this period and are found to be operating a licensable HMO illegally, enforcement action – which includes prosecution or a civil penalty of up to £30,000 – will be considered.
St Helens council’s portfolio holder for housing services, Councillor Anthony Burns, said: “As a council we are committed to improving housing standards in the borough and this national legislation will enable the council to improve standards in HMOs.
“Given the cost of the rented housing market these days, residents deserve at very least to have a home that is compliant with legal standards and a safe place to live.
“If you are the owner of a HMO property, you must ensure that the property is licensed as failure to do so is a criminal offence.”
Licensing applications can now be made online by visiting housinglicensing.sthelens.gov.uk
For more information on HMO’s, housing standards and enforcement visit: www.sthelens.gov.uk/hmolicensing