The Association of Residential Letting Agents is warning the government that some of its proposed changes to regulations governing HMOs may have unintended consequences.
The warning has come in ARLA’s response to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s consultation on ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation and residential property licensing reforms’.
The consultation asked for views on proposals to remove the existing storey rule for HMOs, extend mandatory licensing to flats above and below business premises, and set a minimum room size of 6.52 square metres. There were also questions about rubbish disposal facilities, the fit and proper person test and purpose-built student accommodation.
“We repeated our view that we don’t agree with licensing because it doesn’t work” says ARLA.
“Councils already have a wide variety of powers to prosecute for poor property conditions and bad management practices. Failure to tackle and inspect landlords without a licence is a major concern of our members and only serves to enforce our current view that licensing in not an effective solution to the correctly identified problem” says a statement.
Its warning over unintended consequences came in its detailed response to the room size proposal.
“We know that some people are happy to take small rooms to keep their costs down. If these rooms are no longer available, the supply of property to these people will be vastly reduced” it warns.
The association says it is concerned that parents living in bedsits or letting rooms, or possibly in a room in a shared house, with a baby or young child whose occupation of a room would contravene licensing rules under the new proposals. “We believe this will have an impact in areas where residential property is in high demand and force low income families to find individual flats which they may not be able to afford” cautions ARLA.
The full response by ARLA is available here.