Private sector landlords who operate houses in multiple occupation in Cheshire East are being warned that there are just a few weeks left until new legislation comes into effect.
From 1 October 2018, all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) must be licensed if there are five or more occupants, who are living in two or more separate households – regardless of how many storeys the property is.
It means that around 500 of the estimated 600-650 HMOs in Cheshire East will require a mandatory licence, compared to the 51 currently.
Landlords are being urged to ensure they have completed their licence application in advance of the October 1 deadline. Operating without a licence is a criminal offence and the penalties include an unlimited fine.
Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “The changes in government legislation will allow us to bring HMOs under closer scrutiny and help ensure better management standards and living conditions for tenants.
“Our housing standards team is currently processing more than 40 licence applications from landlords and carrying out the necessary inspection visits. However, we know that there are many more properties that will require a licence and we urge landlords, who have not already done so, to submit their applications as soon as possible.”
The council is also encouraging people to continue reporting the location of properties in their local area, which they believe to be HMOs.
Cllr Arnold added: “Thank you to everyone so far who has reported the location of a HMO to us via our website.
“Our online reporting form takes just a couple of minutes to fill in and the information received allows our officers to investigate whether the properties are licensed and check that they are safe for people to live in.”
If you are living in a HMO, or there is a HMO in your local area, you can let the council know by visiting: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/hmo and filling in the online form.
Details of HMOs that are already licensed can be found by selecting the ‘register of licensed houses in multiple occupation’ tab.
If you are a landlord and wish to make a HMO licence application, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/hmo