Empty Property: Security

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 21st February 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Grender Baroness Grender Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they have provided to local authorities about the inspection of properties occupied by licensed property guardians that may be subject to house in multiple occupation licensing requirements.

Photo of Baroness Grender Baroness Grender Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria would result in a property that is used as a dwelling by a property guardian licensee being designated as a house in multiple occupation.

Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Whether or not a property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) is set out in Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004, and this definition includes properties occupied under licence agreements. A property that is occupied by three or more people who are from more than one family and who share one or more basic amenity is an HMO, although there are some exemptions to this set out in Part 2 of the Act. HMOs with more than five tenants comprising two or more separate households are usually required to be licensed by the local authority, and local authorities can designate ‘Additional Licensing’ areas, where HMOs with fewer than five tenants are licensed if necessary.

Detailed guidance for local authorities on the HMO licensing provisions in the Housing Act 2004 is available on the gov.uk website. This guidance covers all properties including those occupied by licensed property guardians. We are also undertaking a review of enforcement guidance for local authorities on private rented sector enforcement. We expect to publish this guidance by the end of March, and to deliver training for all local authorities in March and April.

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