Landlords who rent out a property to five or more people forming more than one household have until October 1 to apply for a licence under new rules.
Previously, only properties rented out to five or more people in a property with three or more storeys needed a licence, but on April 1st central government removed the three-storey rule, and the new regulation comes into force in October. After that date, the owners of those houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) which do not have the licence will be committing an offence.
Landlords found operating an unlicensed HMO could be prosecuted, or Adur and Worthing Councils could impose a civil penalty notice of up to £30,000 per offence.
“Fires in houses in multiple occupancy are seven times more likely to lead to fatalities than in single household properties, so we take the licences and the standards they impose very seriously.” confirmed Cllr Carson Albury, Cabinet member for Customer Services for Adur District Council.
“We want to improve the safety and quality of housing in the private rented sector and will be actively checking properties,” says Cllr Heather Mercer, Cabinet member for Customer Services for Worthing Borough Council.
All money collected from licensing applications is used to fund the scheme, including inspecting and monitoring the properties.
To apply for the licence, landlords will need to complete an application form that can be found on the Adur & Worthing Councils website. They will need to produce documentation such as a fire risk assessment, mortgage documents, electricity and gas boiler check certificates, as well as submitting the relevant fee.
The licence costs £1,050 for a property with up to 5 units of accommodation, and £50 for every extra unit. It will usually last for five years, but may vary depending factors such as the track record of the landlord or the planning status of the property.
Further information can be found here.