Are you a landlord of a small or medium HMO in Portsmouth? Or are you looking to start investing in one? Then it’s a good idea to get up-to-date on the latest changes that could affect you.
Portsmouth City Council have tightened their rules on HMO licensing, requiring smaller HMOs to also hold licences. This type of ‘Additional Licence’ is separate from the traditional ‘Mandatory Licence’ required by landlords of HMOs that house five or more tenants from different households.
Licensing schemes are crucial for keeping things fair in the rental industry and separating the good landlords from the bad. However, they can be costly and demand a certain level of knowledge to guarantee fulfilment. That’s why our experts are here to help. In this blog, we help you understand the recent changes to HMO licensing in Portsmouth and what this means for your shared rental property.
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Do I need an HMO licence in Portsmouth?
Yes, if you rent out a shared property to three or more people from two or more households in Portsmouth, then the Council’s latest rules will require you to hold an HMO licence.
A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) property includes shared houses, flats or bedsits where tenants share access to specific amenities such as kitchens and bathrooms.
What are the changes to HMOs in Portsmouth?
Since 1 September 2023, if you own an HMO property in Portsmouth that houses 3-4 tenants from different households, you will be required to have a licence. This is also known as an ‘Additional Licence’ and is focused on ensuring that all tenants of HMOs can enjoy a safe and comfortable environment to live in.
Failure to apply for new licences can result in significant financial penalties, legal trouble and even difficulty selling your property. Portsmouth Council could fine up to £30,000 for any landlord who doesn’t comply with the new rules.
While these recent changes only affect landlords of smaller HMO properties, all landlords should be sure to keep their licences up-to-date!
Prior to these changes, a ‘Mandatory Licence’ was only required by larger HMO properties occupied by five or more residents from different households.
What is Additional Licensing?
As part of the Housing Act 2004, ‘Additional Licensing’ provides local authorities with the ability to alter some of the licensing rules for HMOs so long as certain requirements are met.
In this instance, Portsmouth City Council have created a local plan to ensure that all HMOs hold licences from 1 September 2023 in an attempt to improve the housing market for renters and investors alike.
How do I apply for the new HMO licence?
The new licence application process is pretty straightforward, but it does require you to submit certain documents, including:
- Floor plans detailing each room, what they are used for and their size, as well as locations of fire alarms and fire blankets.
- Fire Risk Assessment (or commitment to getting one).
- Safety certificates (Gas, EICR, PAT, emergency lighting and fire alarm test).
Once you have gathered all supporting documentation, you must submit your application and pay a fee for your licence term, ranging from 1 to 5 years.
How to protect yourself as an HMO landlord
HMOs typically face more rules and regulations than other rental properties and buy-to-lets. So, if you’re a landlord in Portsmouth, it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the latest licensing regulations and know exactly how to protect yourself.
It is extremely important to know the type of occupancy you are providing and apply for the correct HMO licence. Plus, if you’re looking to expand or downsize your HMO property, then ensuring you have planning permission will keep you safe from issues down the line.
Once you have your licence, you’ll need to ensure your property consistently meets its safety requirements. This means having appropriate room sizes, safety certificates and good communication with tenants. Staying compliant means you’ll benefit from fewer inspections and reduced costs.
With all this being said, insurance is another top priority when it comes to the safety of you and your tenants. You must notify your insurance provider when deciding to rent out your property as an HMO or if you make any changes to an existing shared property. This ensures you are covered should you ever need to make a claim.
Looking for landlord insurance? Get in touch with Glowsure
With the new licensing scheme in mind, you may also be thinking about other areas of your HMO property business, like making sure you have adequate protection.
At Glowsure, we know some of the best insurers who specialise in HMO insurance for local landlords. Our dedicated team will swoop in and search the market for the most suitable insurer for your property.
We’ll ensure maximum protection by providing you with a comprehensive HMO insurance that covers:
- Building insurance
- Contents insurance (for any contents you provide)
- Loss of rent or alternative accommodation (if the building becomes damaged or inhabitable)
Plus, we will deal with all claims for you!
With us by your side, you’ll have peace of mind and financial protection in the event of unforeseen circumstances like a fire or flood. Not only this, but the right protection will keep you safe against liability claims and accidental or malicious damage.
Contact Glowsure today and keep your property business safe.