Landlords in Hertsmere are being reminded they may need to apply for a licence under new regulations which should provide tenants with more protection and prevent overcrowding.
Under the new government measures, set to come into force in October, private sector landlords who own properties or flats occupied by five or more people in more than one household will have to apply for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence from Hertsmere Borough Council.
Failure to do so could result in the landlord facing criminal prosecution and a fine of thousands of pounds.
Previously, only landlords with properties of three or more storeys needed a licence, but the new legislation could mean an extra 300 properties in the borough require a licence.
The council has prosecuted landlords in the past for failing to get a licence, including a Potters Bar man who did not get a licence for an HMO for five years.
Councillor Jean Heywood, portfolio holder for housing, said: “Our aim is to ensure that all of our residents live in safe, secure and well-maintained homes and this legislation will help to achieve that.
“We already work closely with landlords in the private and social housing sectors to ensure their homes are meeting basic living standards.
“We are sure that the majority of landlords will want to work with us to provide their tenants with fantastic homes, but those who fail to comply could face a criminal prosecution.”
The new legislation, announced in December, also means anyone who has been convicted of offences such as burglary and stalking will be added to a national database of rogue landlords and barred from renting out properties.
To find out more about the changes and how to apply for an HMO licence see www.hertsmere.gov.uk/HMO or contact the private sector housing officer on 020 8207 2277.
Regular Landlords’ Forums for participants with properties across Hertsmere are held throughout the year, organised by the council in partnership with some of the landlords’ associations. The next forum will be held on the evening of June 26. Further details are available on request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.