Multiple Occupation: Licensing

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 7th November 2018.

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Photo of John Healey John Healey Shadow Secretary of State for Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the level of risk of landlords bypassing rules licensing houses in multiple occupation by (a) acquiring bed and breakfast accommodation and (b) using outbuildings to house tenants.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

The Government sees the risk of landlords circumventing this legislation by acquiring bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation as low and is unaware of any cases of it. It is not unlawful for landlords to change from being an HMO landlord to a B&B provider. Landlords would simply be changing from one arrangement to another, and would have to abide by the appropriate framework accordingly.

A small number of landlords who are rogue or criminal, knowingly rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation, including outbuildings. This is not specific to HMO regulation, but a wider issue about substandard accommodation upon which we are determined to crackdown.

The Housing & Planning Act 2016 introduced a range of measures to deal with such landlords and they were implemented in 2017. Measures include: banning orders for the most serious and prolific offenders; civil penalties of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution; and extension of Rent Repayment Orders to cover illegal eviction, breach of a banning order or failure to comply with a statutory notice.

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