We manage a variety of properties for local and international clients; no matter where you are based it can be difficult to keep up to date with the constant changes to the lettings industry. Recently we have been made aware that some changes seem to not be getting through to landlords, so here is an important reminder of those you may have missed or that you need to keep an eye on.
Last October changes were made meaning that if you are letting a shared property in England it now falls under the licensing rules for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). There has been some confusion over the three-storey rule (previously, HMOs were classified as over three storeys high, with shared facilities, and being let to more than five people).
We can confirm that this three-storey rule has been removed. This means you’re now required to have an HMO license for even a large flat or house-share being let to five or more people.
Sleeping accommodation minimum
Another change that came into force in October was in the regulations that govern the minimum size of bedrooms. Depending on how many people occupy the bedroom, there are now riles with regard to what constitutes ‘sleeping accommodation’ in a rental property. These are as follows, according to the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government:
- to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged over 10 years is not less than 6.51 square metres;
- to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by two persons aged over 10 years is not less than 10.22 square metres;
- to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged under 10 years is not less than 4.64 square metres;
- to ensure that any room in the HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64 square metres is not used as sleeping accommodation.
Keep an eye on eviction rules
As you are aware, you are able to serve a Section 21 notice of possession to your tenants to let them know you want to take back possession of your property at the end of a fixed term. In December, the Section 21 eviction rules were debated by MPs; there is nothing yet to say that the rules will be overhauled but we will be keeping an eye on what happens this year.
Bringing much joy is the range of buy-to-let products available on the market for landlords at the moment. This year alone it is said that there are almost 400 more products available than last year, according to Moneyfacts, who stated that today there are 2,162 buy-to-let deals available. There are also a great number of cashback buy-to-let mortgages on the market as well, which might be worth taking a look at.
This means that if you’re looking to extend your portfolio or thinking about re-mortgaging, now might be a great time.
Don’t miss any changes
If you’re unsure if you and your property are compliant, our team are always on hand for a chat.