At PPP, we are focused on the maximums: maximising rent, maximising returns, maximising house potentials, maximising service. However, sometimes it’s essential to focus on the minimums… and that is certainly the case when it comes to setting up a high-quality House of Multiple Occupation (HMO). It is imperative that HMO licensing and amenity standards are implemented correctly so that properties comply with the appropriate housing health and safety legislation, have the correct fire safety measures in place, and are suitable for occupation by tenants. No skimping on the minimum requirements at Platinum Property Partners (PPP).
The Minefield of Meeting Standards
Clearly, HMO licensing standards are very important, but they can also be complex and confusing as each local authority has the discretion to implement its own licensing and amenity standards.
As a result of this, some local authorities have adopted a number of interesting ‘quirks’ which can mean additional work is required in order to obtain a licence. Some local authorities insist on completely different room sizes for bedrooms and communal areas, as well as different kitchen and bathroom facilities from one another, despite being neighbours!
Other peculiarities can include anything from insisting on two sinks being made available in a shared kitchen to having a larger communal space in lieu of a separate kitchen and dining room – and in some cases a second separate kitchen altogether.
Minimum room size requirements for both single and double occupancy rooms may also vary. Although the national minimum standards are 6.51 m2 and 10.22 m2 respectively, some local authority HMO officers insist on having larger room sizes, potentially affecting the whole viability of a house!
Minimum room sizes can also catch out unsuspecting landlords with communal room sizes being based on the number of occupants in a property, and whether separate or combined kitchen and dining rooms or lounges are proposed. You baffled yet?
Prospective landlords are often left in a quandary as to whether they are complying with the standards in the correct way, and this leads to unnecessary headaches and sleepless nights.
Don’t Lose Your Licence (or Your Mind)
Often, an inexperienced or first-time landlord will find themselves having to navigate a daunting minefield of standards, only to find they have missed something obvious – or an HMO officer has interpreted the rules in a different way, meaning potentially expensive changes would need to be made to allow a licence to be granted. *Sigh.*
As the scope of mandatory licensing is due to be expanded from 1st October 2018 – to include approximately 177,000 additional HMOs – it is now more important than ever for professional landlords to follow HMO amenity and licensing standards when setting up or refurbishing existing HMO properties that didn’t previously need to hold a licence. There can be serious consequences to getting it wrong, including being banned from operating as a landlord, a steep fine and, in some circumstances, being handed a custodial sentence!
However, PPP can help take the stress and anxiety away from Franchise Partners who make the smart decision to join the franchise network, as our specialist and professional head office members – as well as coaches, mentors and Franchise Partners themselves – are able to provide helpful advice and guidance. They provide a wealth of knowledge and experience, taken from setting up over 1,000 HMO properties for over 300 Partners in the last decade, enabling them to navigate the many regulatory hurdles with confidence. Minimum stress, maximum return.