Are You An Unwitting HMO Landlord?

The rules around HMOs is changing. Landlords in Leicester may find themselves managing a HMO without realising it from the 1st October 2018


Landlords who own properties in Leicester will not be surprised to hear that there is even more legislation concerning the private rented sector, adding to the already more than 125 individual laws landlords with properties in Leicester need to follow. For some time now, there has been a lot of noise in the industry about the upcoming changes on the 1st October 2018 which may mean owners of shared houses which weren’t previously considered an HMO will be from this date…

Managing unlicensed HMOs can be very costly, with fines into the tens of thousands, custodial sentences and banning orders handed out on a regular basis to those who don’t comply. Even ‘professional’ letting agents like Spicerhaart have been convicted of managing unlicensed HMOs paying testament to how easy it is to fall foul of the law!

An HMO, or House in Multiple Occupation, was previously defined as any property which is three or more storeys which are let to three or more tenants who form two or more households and share common facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.

The new HMO rules mean properties occupied by five or more people that form two or more households, regardless of the size of the property or the number of floors.

There are also new rules governing the minimum room sizes meaning most attic rooms in Leicester will automatically be illegal if let as a bedroom. The easiest way around this is to convert the communal area into a bedroom and make the attic room a communal space, however, you will require expert input into whether this is the right approach to take. Harry Albert Lettings & Estates, an estate and letting agent in Leicester, will be happy to help you with this.

Licenses issued from 1st October will have to contain the following conditions with regards to the minimum room sizes:

  • to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged over 10 years is not less than 6.51 square metres;
  • to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by two persons aged over 10 years is not less than 10.22 square metres;
  • to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged under 10 years is not less than 4.64 square metres;
  • to ensure that any room in the HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64 square metres is not used as sleeping accommodation.

Where a breach is found to exist, local authorities will be able to grant a period not exceeding 18 months to rectify the situation.

Landlords will also have to consider refuse disposal and storage facilities in HMOs and other shared properties in Leicester which are affected by the upcoming mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation as defined under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004.

These changes include proper waste storage and disposal, previously, owners of HMOs which weren’t under an Article 4 Direction (meaning landlords would have to apply for planning permission to convert a property in a C4 Class commercial dwelling to comply) in Leicester and the rest of the UK, would be able to dispose of waste as household rubbish in a black wheelie bin. The new rules mean landlords may have to consider commercial waste collection and disposal services meaning the costs of managing a HMO is certainly going to rise under new proposals. Where the household waste is minimal, there may still be scope to dispose of this as household waste but care will have to be taken and advice from the local authority with regards to this is recommended.

The law around rented accommodation in Leicester is changing. With the new HMO rules, we can almost guarantee Leicester City Council will start cracking down on what they consider to be a rogue landlord, rogue landlords are anybody who breaks the rules whether by accident or on purpose. This is why we recommend not falling foul of the law and instructing Harry Albert Lettings & Estates to manage your property so you can avoid having to keep on top of all of the individual new rules and regulations governing the Leicester private rented sector.

Harry Albert Lettings & Estates provide a FREE Housing Health and Safety Rating System Review of any type of rented property in Leicester, whether it’s a house, flat, bungalow, block of flats or shared house. If you ask us to inspect your property for free, we will provide a full report on where things are going wrong and what you can do to put them right, alternatively, you can instruct Harry Albert Lettings & Estates to manage your property and they will take the necessary action for you.

To find out more about what’s included in Harry Albert Lettings & Estates management service, click here or visit

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