Tuesday, November 13, 2007

HMOs again

I have seen a couple of reports recently on the internet (here and here) saying that a study by Heritable Bank has recommended that the HMO system be reviewed, as there is such a wide discrepancy between the license fees charged by different local authorities, and also a wide variation in the way they deal with licensing generally.

Strangely, I cannot find any mention of this report on the Heritable Bank web-site, although maybe I am not looking in the right place.

However everyone who has anything to do with residential landlord and tenant law and practice, must know of this wide variation in license fees, which many feel is wholly unacceptable. It has been mentioned several times on this blog, and I have also been developing a list of different license fees, which you will find here. Fees on this list run from about £30-50 per room or unit to £1,100 for Newcastle (as mentioned in the articles). In fact though, the most expensive Local Authority to my knowledge is Southend. However they cunningly disguise their high charge by saying that it is £660 for two years, whereas most authorities charge for a five year period. The Southend fee for a five year period works out at £1,650.

There is no doubt that the new HMO regulations have greatly upset landlords, and I believe that many former HMO landlords have now sold up altogether. On the whole I do not think that the regulations are too excessive. The worst problem, that of the wash hand basin requirement for large HMOs, has now been dealt with. The regulations were only introduced last year and perhaps should be given a bit longer to bed in before any revisions are made. However I do think that the wide fee variation is generally undesirable and this aspect should be looked at. Whether it will or not, is of course another matter.

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