Private sector landlords who operate houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) are being urged to take note of upcoming changes to licensing legislation.
From October 1, all HMOs must be licensed if there are five or more occupants who are living in two or more separate households and sharing some facilities – regardless of how many storeys the property is.
In addition, statutory minimum bedroom sizes have been introduced which may reduce the maximum number of allowable occupants in some already licensed properties.
It means that around 350 HMOs in Stoke-on-Trent will require a mandatory licence, compared to the 90 currently.
Licenses can be applied for from Stoke-on-Trent City Council and cost £621 for a five-year period, after which they must be renewed. Reductions are available for members of the Landlord Accreditation Scheme North Staffordshire.
Operating without a licence is a criminal offence and the penalties include a civil penalty up to £30,000 or, if prosecuted, an unlimited fine.
Councillor Randy Conteh, the city council’s cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “We are absolutely committed to raising housing standards for all residents, and these changes to Government legislation will help us to do that.
“HMO licences allow us to have closer scrutiny over private sector accommodation and help ensure better management standards and living conditions for tenants.
“The majority of our private landlords are very compliant, but we do have a dedicated team of officers who take a targeted and proactive approach to enforcement where necessary. This means that we can make sure private rented accommodation in the city is of the best possible standard for all.”
For more information and application forms, landlords should contact the private sector housing team on 01782 232087or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232265.