A consultation on a new licensing scheme for landlords renting out shared houses is running until 20 July 2018 and the City Council is urging residents, tenants, landlords and letting agents to have their say on the proposals.
An Additional Licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) was introduced in parts of Nottingham in 2014 to help ensure safe and decent standards in these homes and contribute to raising the standards of private rented homes in the city overall.
The current five-year scheme will soon end, so the council is consulting on proposals for a new scheme, which would run for a further five years from January 2019.
Additional Licensing is a scheme that applies to privately rented Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) or shared houses. All kinds of people live in HMOs, but they are mostly associated with students and younger people.
The scheme requires a licence to be held for smaller HMO properties in certain areas of the city where between three and five people who aren’t related live together and share facilities like bathrooms and kitchens. Larger HMO properties shared by five or more people will be covered by a different scheme – Mandatory licensing, which is a national scheme, covering the whole city. Landlords are required to apply for a licence, which can last up to five years, for each HMO property they rent out in the area covered by the scheme.
The new Additional Licensing scheme is proposed to cover all or parts of the following wards: Arboretum, Berridge, Bridge, Dales, Dunkirk and Lenton, Mapperley, Radford and Park, Sherwood, St Ann’s and Wollaton East and Lenton Abbey.
The current licensing scheme has had a positive impact on problems associated with HMOs since its introduction in 2014, such as gas, electric and fire safety, overcrowding and insufficient facilities, poor internal and external property conditions as well as issues of noise nuisance and waste management.
Over half of the HMOs that applied to the scheme since 2014 did not meet the required standards at first inspection. However, the council has worked with landlords to improve the conditions and management of their properties with almost 3,500 certificates being issued for compliance with the required standards to date. This, along with the scheme still receiving 25 applications a month in its fifth year, shows that the scheme is effective but there is still work to be done to fully engage landlords and maintain improvements.
Councillor Jane Urquhart, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing said: “This scheme, along with others, is a major part of our plans to improve all types of private rented housing in the city.
“Not only does the scheme help to improve poorer standards of accommodation, it means tenants know what is expected of their landlord in terms of the management of their home. It also helps us to tackle rogue and bad landlords by providing a clear set of guidelines which all landlords need to meet, and helps prevent bad landlords cutting corners or ‘undercutting’ good ones, creating a level playing field for all.
“We are encouraging landlords, managing agents, residents and tenants to have their say on these proposals to help us shape the new scheme.”
A consultation on the new scheme began on 1 May 2018 and is running until 20 July 2018. To find out more information and have your say on the current proposals visit: www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/additionalhmo.