The government should rein in its plans to transform the way Houses in Multiple Occupation are licensed.
That is the view of the Residential Landlords’ Association, which is warning that government plans could potentially mean hundreds of thousands more homes needing licences.
At present mandatory HMO licensing is restricted to properties that are three or more storeys high, containing five or more people in two or more households with shared facilities.
Under the new plans the three-storey criteria for licensing will be amended, either by changing it to two-storey or extending licensing to all HMOs containing five or more people.
The Government is also considering a new national minimum room sizes, of around 6.5 square metres for a single room and 10.2 square metres for a double room.
The RLA believes many of the changes are unnecessary and says they will put a huge strain on local authorities.
The association instead wants no change to current HMO licensing criteria, a simpler definition of HMOs to be created without any minimum national room size, and it also demands licences to be granted by default when councils fail to process applications within an agreed timetable.
“The consultation documents assume that maintaining the status quo is not an option. Local authorities already struggle to enforce the current mandatory licensing requirements and in the face of further budget savings their ability to police an extension that will bring hundreds of thousands of homes into the regime is questionable” insists RLA policy director David Smith.