Proposed HMO changes a good start but more needed

Release Date: 03 January 2018

Changes to housing legislation announced by the Government in December and aimed at combating overcrowded, substandard housing are a good start but need to go further to properly address the issue.

The announcement by the Minister of State for Housing and Planning follows a letter from Richmond Council Cabinet members in December which called on the Government to address the issues relating to Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs).

Cllr Pamela Fleming, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Environment, Business and Community, said:

“It is encouraging to see the Government make a commitment to set standards around minimum bedroom sizes and the quality of landlords. Having called for the removal of the ‘storey rule’ it is good to see the changes to mandatory licensing will be extended to some HMOs occupied by five or more people regardless of the number of stories. However, it does not address the problems for HMOs occupied by fewer than five people.

“We hope this is the start of a process which will see changes from the Government and will be watching closely for further steps to bring all HMOs under control and improve the quality of housing.”

Cllr Martin Seymour, Cabinet member for Planning and Strategic Development, said:

“The Council has been clear about the need for improved planning powers to control the spread of HMOs.

“We indicated our intention to apply for an Article 4 direction to remove permitted development rights for these types of properties, so we welcome the Government’s requirement that landlords renting properties with five or more tenants from two different households apply for a licence.”

Cllr Mark Boyle, Cabinet member Housing, Public Health and Community Safety, said:

“We fully agree with the Minister’s assertion that every tenant has a right to live in a safe, secure and decent home, and we welcome his aim to target landlords who profit from overcrowded, unhealthy and dangerous homes.

“Introducing financial penalties and a name and shame database will help to keep these substandard landlords from taking advantage of renters, but it needs to go hand in hand with strong enforcement and other legislative changes.”

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Lyle Skipsey on 020 8487 5182. 

Reference: P006/18

Updated: 25 April 2018