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HMO licencing woes

LANDLORD FORUMCategory: LettingHMO licencing woes
HMO licencing woes 1colin asked 4 years ago
We have a four bedroom house where the smallest bedroom is 5.98m2. The tenant is happy with it because it is a well maintained house with a lot of shared living space. However, Southwark council rejected our licence application because they are not only going by the letter of the law, they have increased the minimum for a single adult to 8m2. Our appeals process will be along the lines of allocating some of the space elsewhere in the house for the tenants exclusive use.
Has anyone gone through this kind of problem already?
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HMO licencing woes 2Marc Attwater Staff answered 4 years ago

NO save for check the central governments guide lines to the local council to see if the council have overstepped or breached the dictum.

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HMO licencing woes 3Zenteknika answered 4 years ago

I have written to my local MP and the Housing minister 3 times on this subject and was fobbed off with a standard reply – to which this is my lates response- please get everyone to write in to their local MP and the housing department and challenge the ruling which has no flexibility and will make homelessness worse as so many thousands of happy tenants are forced to leave their homes (of maybe years very often) the governement DID back down on wash basin requirement so i believe if enough complain i think they will back down on this so please SUPPORT THIS ACTION

Thanks for your reply

What the legislation has not done is make any room for local housing officers to utilise their skills and assess each dwelling/room on its merits in detail whilst taking into account other factors.

I Repeat:

If a single room is just under the 6.51 sq m but offers a lot of built- in storage and/or more just storage outside the door in the landing so freeing up usable/living floor space in the room then this will provide a better quality of life than a compliant single room filled up to the brim with all the necessary furniture eg double wardrobe, large chest of drawers, bedside table and maybe a small desk which leaves barely any standing room for the occupant. (if you take a double wardrobe on its own or certainly with a chest of drawers then practically ALL single rooms in the country will FAIL your test! )

(Maybe your legislation should be based on what floor area is left once all the furniture is added to the room)

Neither does your myopic legislation does not take into account if the shared HMO has communal living areas eg kitchen diner / living room which allows the occupant of the single room or slightly undersized double room to spend the majority of their time in a much larger room if they so chose and purely sleep in the slightly undersized room which was designed to Parker Morris standards originally and which now fails your latest test.

All I am asking for is that highly experienced housing officers should have the right to apply to a slightly undersized room mitigating factors such as those detailed above and thus keep it in the rentable sector for those struggling to find suitable affordable accommodation.

I have such a room which is slightly under and I can assure you it is the quickest one to be let on account of the fact that it is the cheapest room I have. Not only do the poorest in society live in these smaller rooms , I have had dentists , Accountants and other professionals living there so they can save up most readily for their own mortgage- now you are forcing them to find a larger more expensive room and delay them getting onto the housing ladder.

I have spoken to my local housing officer and he is mystified why you have a one sized fits all policy which will take many tens of thousands of perfectly good rooms out of the rented sector and will generally affect the poorest people in society most and crucially just at a time when you have stated government policy is to reduce homelessness to zero within the next few years

how can you possibly effect the eviction of tens of thousands of the poorest due to their rooms being considered too small and expect to reduce the numbers living on the streets

Where will all these people go when they are evicted from their homes on Monday?

My single room would pass the test IF built in wardrobes and external storage cupboards just outside the room were allowed to be brought into the calculation – my house also has 2 living rooms !

Many HMO’s will have no communal space at all

so which do you think is giving the tenant better quality of life?

A compliant room IF you take into consideration built in furniture and with 2 communal living areas versus a compliant room filled to the brim with furniture and no communal space whatsoever?

I Implore the Government Housing Department to allow local Housing Officers the ability to adjust the legislation to suit actual circumstances based on their accurate judgement across their region.

( You could even have regional officers who can oversee these cases based on mitigation factors if necessary and they would have the powers to countermand the local housing officer if they disagree with his assessment)

My local housing officers in Winchester are in Full Agreement with what I am suggesting and they are desperately wanting to help retain as much private rented accommodation in the area which has a shortage locally as does the nation Nationally.

Please pass on this reply to the Housing Minister and your department think tank for URGENT reappraisal please

You will be responsible for tens of thousands of rooms being taken out of circulation on Monday Oct 1st if you do not change the policy.

Yours Sincerely

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