Landlords and letting agents in Charnwood who have failed to apply for a house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence are being warned they could face a hefty penalty or prosecution.
HMO licensing changed on October 1, 2018 meaning the rules apply to more properties than before.
Previously, properties of three storeys or more and occupied by five or more people who are not all related had to be licensed by the local authority.
However, since last year the law has removed the three-storey element and now all HMOs which are occupied by five or more people, forming two or more households, regardless of the number of floors in the property, require a licence.
Properties which must be licensed under the new rules were required to apply to Charnwood Borough Council for a licence by October 1, 2018 and more than 260 applications were received.
However, it is likely that there are still licensable properties in the borough for which no application has been received. The Council will be carrying out unannounced visits to properties across the borough to investigate potentially unlicensed HMOs.
Anyone who owns or manages a licensable HMO without a licence could face a civil penalty of up to £30,000, or prosecution. Councils can issue civil penalties for various offences under the Housing Act 2004.
Cllr Margaret Smidowicz, lead member for regulatory services, said: “We want to work with responsible landlords and managing agents to drive up standards and the Council will take a tough stance on non-compliance.
“We will not hesitate to use civil penalties and the sums involved can be substantial. I would encourage anyone who is unsure to talk to our private sector housing team who will be happy to provide advice.”
Anyone with information about an unlicensed HMO within the borough are encouraged to contact the private sector housing team on 01509 634651 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are some exemptions to HMO licensing and if you are unsure of whether a property requires a licence, please contact the private sector housing team.