From 1 October 2018, when granting a licence for a HMO property, a local authority must impose conditions relating to the minimum room size which may be occupied as sleeping accommodation. Any room which does not meet the minimum requirement must not be used a sleeping accommodation.
A HMO licence granted under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004 (that is pursuant to mandatory licensing schemes) must contain conditions requiring the licence holder to ensure that any room used for sleeping accommodation is:
The Government's non-statutory guidance "Houses in Multiple Occupation and residential property licensing reform: Guidance for Local Housing Authorities" states that the statutory minimum is not intended to be the optimal room size and that local authorities will continue to have discretion to set their own higher standards within licence conditions but must not set a lower standard.
Calculating the Room Size
When determining the area of the room, any part of the room where the height of the ceiling is less than 1.5 meters will not be taken into account. The guidance states that other communal space in other parts of the HMO cannot be used to compensate for rooms smaller than the prescribed minimum.
A licence holder will be committing a criminal offence if, without reasonable excuse, the licence holder breached the licence conditions by:
If prosecuted for a criminal offence in the magistrates' court, an unlimited fine could be imposed if found guilty. Alternatively, the local authority could issue the licence holder with a financial penalty notice of up to £30,000.
Should you have any further questions please contact Private Sector Housing on [email protected]