From October councils will be able to set minimum bedroom size standards for HMOs – and also introduce limits on how many people can live in each bedroom. Rooms used for sleeping by one person over 10 years old will have to be no smaller than 6.51 square metres, and those slept in by two people over 10 years-old will have to be no smaller than 10.22 square metres. Rooms slept in by children of 10 years and younger will have to be no smaller than 4.64 square metres.
The HMO licence must specify the maximum number of persons (if any) who may occupy any room and the total number across the different rooms must be the same as the number of people the house is to be home to.
Landlords of existing properties will be given up to 18 months to make necessary changes when re-applying for a licence when it expires.
Minister for the PRS, Heather Wheeler MP, said “Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live. But some tenants are being exploited by a minority of unscrupulous landlords who profit from renting out cramped and sometimes squalid or dangerous properties. These measures will mean landlords must provide adequate space for their tenants or face a hefty fine.”
A total of 16% of landlords responding to the RLA’s most recent members’ survey said they let out HMO’s.