A property agency and management firm says there should be more stringent regulations governing homes in multiple occupation with an accreditation scheme for landlords which would entitle them to licensing fee reductions where appropriate.
Mish Liyanage, managing director of The Mistoria Group, says that currently landlords only need to apply for a HMO licence if they intend to convert their property into what he calls a large HMO - defined as a property with at least three storeys wand at least four tenants, all of whom each share toilets, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants.
Such HMOs also require annual certificates for emergency lights, inter locked smoke alarm, along with gas and PAT testing and if applicable, electrical and gas certificates.
However, Liyanage says the new trend of Hutching Up', which involves young people squeezing into smaller accommodation to meet soaring rental costs, is driving demand for more HMO properties.
As a company that fervently believes in providing high quality accommodation, we believe further legislation is a good thing for raising the standards of HMO accommodation. We also think that landlords and agents who are accredited by their local council should receive a discount when they are applying for HMO and selective licences he says.
Some HMO landlords are also charging tenants excessive fees for non-specific administration including credit checks (which are often not carried out), the lease, inventory preparation and check-out. Due to the supply and demand issues in some areas landlords can make extra, or inflated charges because the tenants have no choice if they wish to rent claims Liyanage, who says students are particularly vulnerable.