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Government reveals latest clampdown on buy to let sector

The government’s wave of measures to clamp down on the private rental sector and introduce harsher regulations for investors and landlords continues apace with the announcement of a new round of consultation on new rules.

The main measure - originally floated in a consultation document from the Department of Communities and Local Government back in November of last year and repeated by new housing minister Gavin Barwell over the summer - is a minimum space standard. 

Under the plans, which will apply in England, the minimum room size in HMOs and some other shared homes will be 6.52 square metres - roughly 70 square feet. The size would be applied for each individual or couple living in the property, so landlords could not squeeze in bunk beds.

The consultation document also includes a provision to ensure mandatory HMO-style licensing rules apply to all shared homes with five or more people from two or more households; they will also include flats above and below shops and other business premises - currently licensing applies only to homes with three or more floors, and excludes properties attached to businesses, unless they are in a three-storey building.

Landlords will also be required to provide decent storage and disposal of rubbish.

Ministers are also considering whether the current licensing rules for purpose-built student accommodation are appropriate.

"In order to build a country that truly works for everyone we must ensure that everyone has somewhere safe and secure to live. These measures will give councils the powers they need to tackle poor-quality rental homes in their area” says Barwell.

"By driving rogue landlords that flout the rules out of business, we are raising standards and giving tenants the protection they need."

You can see the full details here; consultation closes on Tuesday December 13.

  • Mark Hempshell

    "By driving rogue landlords that flout the rules out of business, we are raising rents and giving tenants the protection they need." Great news for landlords who abide by the rules then.

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    I find this laughable - when looking to expand my portfolio in a London borough that had HMO licensing style restrictions for households with 2 or more sharers (which btw my tenants feel is a huge invasion of their privacy) - the majority of properties for sale that I viewed were mouldy, damp and overcrowded - yet all of the owners had successfully got the licence from the local council! To me this just seems like another round in blaming and scapegoating Landlords as the root of the economy's problems ( and all evil in general) by an ineffective government that in reality will change very little except that tenants will have to pay more to cover the costs involved in spending hours filling out forms that the local authority employees when asked for guidance don't seem to understand themselves and paying licensing fees.

    Barry X

    Agreed.

    As I've said before; councils pretend they're interested in raising standards but they're really more interested in raising money, which I'm sure is what this is actually about.

     
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    Ban bunk beds?
    Many families live in houses where third bedroom smaller than 6.5metres.
    Next will be ban double beds.
    In 1970's there were houses without inside toilets and even bathrooms,the Government was pro-active and gave 50% grants to owners whether occupiers or landlords to bring up to standard and save demolition,saving landfill,whereas now we have demolitioon of 1950'/60's council estates,where some privately owned under Pathfinder Schemes,where figures count new hoousing but not demolished houses and flats.Regulated rents meant properties were sold when became vacant.Assured Shorthold replaced rent controlleed and regulated,so new and existing landlords encouraged with buy to let.

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    Government need to stop interfering,support landlords,and be mindful that there are many more rogue tenants that trash valuable property and do not pay rent,yet Government making it harder to get possession.
    Dampness is caused by ignorance of owner occupiers and tenants using washing machines and driers in unvented space,having showers and baths,leaving door shut when finished,and not opening windows briefly.
    People breathe out liters of water,which condenses on widows and in corners without circulation,even mattresses absorb body moisture,so air your beds,leave doors open in daytime,whether owners or tenants.,

     
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    I live in a house built in 1895 and I have no "damp" problems or condensation because I have windows open all year (unless there are gale force winds) and a humidity sensitive extractor in the cellar where I keep hundreds of books and perishable items without a problem. A previous occupier had a tumble dryer in the cellar, blocked up the outlet and caused absolute havoc with a massive amount of condensation. It was cured by me in 4 days with proper ventilation.

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