Views sought on moves to beef up housing regulation

At the moment, a mandatory licensing scheme governs standards in houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), which have 5 occupants or more. But the council wants to introduce an additional licensing scheme, which will cover HMOs where 3 or more people live.

The changes, which are currently out to consultation, are expected to affect around 80 HMOs across the borough. 

The additional licensing scheme would mean that anyone who wants to operate an HMO with 3 or more households would have to apply to the council for a licence, which would only be granted if they passed a ‘fit and proper person’ test. Their property would also have to pass a detailed inspection by housing officers from the council.

Licensed landlords also have to provide proper amenities, including communal living areas, so people do not have to spend all their leisure time in one room, and a formal tenancy agreement, which gives people proof of address and protection from short-notice evictions.

In addition, the changes would place additional requirements on landlords, such as regular maintenance and checks on gas appliances and smoke alarms within their properties and keeping all facilities in a good state of repair. The council would be able to undertake unannounced inspections and would also have the power to enter properties, if required.

Councillor Danny Meredith, cabinet member for regeneration and housing, said:

“Being able to live in good quality housing that’s safe and comfortable is something that everybody really should be able to take for granted, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. 

“At the moment, smaller HMOs are not subject to the same regulations as larger ones, which means people living in these properties are afforded less protection, and that simply can’t be right. And, as there is no requirement under current conditions for landlords managing these properties to register with the council, we also run the risk of a hidden unregulated property market operating in the borough, which is not good for anybody.”

The consultation on the HMO additional licensing proposal can be accessed online. View Consultations page

It runs until 11.59pm on Sunday, 7 July 2024.

The council will also be doing face-to-face drop-ins for landlords and residents who want to know more on the following dates and times at the Rochdale Housing Solutions office at number 2 Smith Street, close to the Rochdale Transport Interchange:

People can email: [email protected] to find out more about the consultation and raise concerns about an HMO property.

Anyone who has concerns about an HMO property can call 0300 303 8874.

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