THE WAY that houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) are licensed is set to change from the start of October.
Following changes to the Housing Act, from 1 October it will be mandatory for landlords of HMOs in Cambridge to have a licence from Cambridge City Council if all of the following apply to their property:
- It is occupied by five or more people as their only/main residence across any number of floors
- Occupiers form two or more households
- Occupiers share a toilet, bathroom and/or kitchen.
The council is now accepting applications from landlords in relation to all such HMOs within the city that are required to be licensed.
Certain purpose-built flats will also need to be licensed, particularly those within purpose-built blocks comprising two or less purpose-built flats. This includes flats above commercial premises.
For further details on HMO licensing and how to apply for a licence people can visit: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/licensing-of-houses-in-multiple-occupation.
In order for an application to be considered, landlords will need to provide the council with the following:
- A fully completed signed and dated application form
- Payment of the appropriate application fee (there are two fees to pay: an application fee and a fee on grant of licence. The full fee structure can be seen at www.cambridge.gov.uk/licensing-of-houses-in-multiple-occupation)
- A sketch plan of the property detailing the layout and position of each room
- A current and satisfactory Electrical Installation Condition Report
- A current and satisfactory Landlord Gas Safety Record
- A current and satisfactory Certificate of Inspection for the fire alarm and detection system.
Application forms can be downloaded from the ‘Licences and permits’ section of the Cambridge City Council website. HMO licences are generally issued for a period of five years.
If the council are currently aware of a licensable property being occupied as a HMO and a full and satisfactory licence application has been received, processing of the licence may be ‘fast tracked’ without the need for a property inspection at the point of licensing. The property will however be inspected during the course of the licence term.
Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “Cambridge City Council recognises that, whilst the vast majority of landlords operate in accordance with the law and recognised standards, it has a duty to combat poor practices where they exist in relation to HMOs, such as overcrowding and any risk to the health and safety of occupants.
“The extension of mandatory licensing will allow the council to promote the driving up of standards in relation to a broader section of properties within the private rented sector which forms an important part of Cambridge’s overall housing mix.”
For further information relating to mandatory HMO licensing, people can contact the council on 01223 458050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.