Council issues warning about licences for houses of multiple occupancy in Milton Keynes

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MK Council has warned landlords renting a house to five or more unrelated people that an HMO licence is needed.

Any house occupied by five people who are not related to each other and are sharing some facilities will need an HMO licence, says the council.

And the landlord could be committing a criminal offence if he of she is operating without such a licence, warn officers.

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Until a couple of years ago, the licencing scheme was restricted to houses that were three or more storeys in height but now it applies to properties of all sizes.

HMOs can be any sizeHMOs can be any size
HMOs can be any size

Dozens of HMOs are already registered in MK, particularly on estates such as Fishermead, Netherfield and Tinkers Bridge, where houses are large and easy to convert into bedsits.

Landlords can charge between £400 and £500 a month for a bedroom with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities.

To apply for an HMO licence the landlord or manager of the property must first prove they are a 'fit and proper’ person.

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Regulations state the house must be "reasonably suitable" for the number of people living there and have at least the minimum prescribed standards of amenities and facilities such as shared bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities.

The licence application must be accompanied by a floor plan of the property indicating room sizes, location of the bathroom, toilet and kitchen facilities plus the position of smoke alarms, emergency lighting units and fire doors.

Details must be given of what fire precautions currently exist in the property, including the location of any fire doors and smoke alarms.

There must also be a current gas safety certificate and this has to be renewed annually. A valid electrical installation condition report must also be supplied, along with a portable appliance test certificate for any electrical equipment provided as part of the tenancy.

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All upholstered furniture supplied must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988

Landlords must also supply a written statement for each occupier of the terms on which they occupy the property, such as a tenancy agreement.

Section 72 of The Housing Act 2004 makes it a criminal offence if a person managing or controlling an HMO does not have the required licence.

A person found guilty of such an offence will be subject to a fine of up to £20,000.

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