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Cheshire East Council is reminding buy to let investors that new legislation is set to come into effect in October requiring that all houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) with over five occupants must be licensed.
From 1 October 2018, HMOs must be licensed if there are five or more occupants who are living in two or more separate households. This is regardless of how many storeys the home is. This means that around 500 of the approximately 600-650 HMOs in Cheshire East will require a compulsory licence. This is in stark contrast to the 51 who currently need it.
Landlords are being advised to ensure that they have completed their licence application ahead of the deadline. Operating without a licence is a criminal offence and any landlords who do so will face an unlimited fine.
Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, Councillor Ainsley Arnold said: ‘The changes in government legislation will allow us to bring HMOs under closer scrutiny and help ensure better management standards and living conditions for tenants. Our housing standards team is currently processing more than 40 licence applications from landlords and carrying out the necessary inspection visits. However, we know that there are many more properties that will require a licence and we urge landlords, who have not already done so, to submit their applications as soon as possible.’
The council is also aiming to encourage people to report any properties in their local area that they believe to be HMOs.
Councillor Arnold added: ‘Thank you to everyone so far who has reported the location of a HMO to us via our website. Our online reporting form takes just a couple of minutes to fill in and the information received allows our officers to investigate whether the properties are licensed and check that they are safe for people to live in.’