Worcester City councillors are set to vote on whether to introduce additional licensing requirements to ensure that all HMOs in Worcester are brought up to an “acceptable standard”.
Additional licensing would mean two and three-storey HMOs occupied by three or more people would need licences alongside HMOS with three or more storeys and five or more occupants. The decision will be taken at a cabinet meeting on 17 March 2015.
Councillors will take account of feedback received from 245 people during a recent 12-week consultation. The council says that although there was opposition from some landlords, 74.4% of responses were in favour of introducing the scheme.
The proposed new regulations would make landlords bring HMOs up to an “acceptable standard”. This would mean ensuring there are adequate fire precautions, security measures, adequate heating and damp and mould prevention.
In addition, the City Council would ensure all landlords are “fit and proper” persons to own or manage an HMO. This means that properties are run by competent landlords who behave in a professional manner and comply with all the necessary regulations.
“The City Council has run a far-reaching consultation, and tenants, landlords and neighbours of HMOs have all had their say on the introduction of tough new requirements,” says Cllr David Wilkinson, cabinet member for safer and stronger communities.
“The number of rented properties in Worcester is growing and 92% of those we inspect need some kind of basic work on them. Now is the time to take action and improve the quality of accommodation for hundreds of people living in HMOs in the city.”
Under the new proposals, landlords who do not comply could face a fine of up to £20,000. In order to operate an HMO, they would need to pay a licence fee of between £645 and £780 (depending on the size of the property) for a five-year licence.
If the additional licensing scheme is implemented, the City Council will undertake a review in five years’ time to establish how successful it has been.