160,000 more rented homes will need a licence

Housing minister Alok Sharma is set to continue his war against bad landlords who disregard tenant safety in shared homes.

Sharma says he wants to stamp out substandard and unsafe rented homes.

From April, landlords with shared houses in multiple occupation (HMO) in England face a raft of new rules.

Many more homes will come under council supervision with around 160,000 additional homes needing a licence, taking the number of HMOs up to 660,000.

The new rules are aimed at stopping rogue landlords from overcrowding their homes with tenants.

They will limit the size of a single bedroom to 6.51 square metres for anyone over 10 years old and to 4.64 square metres for children. Adults sharing a room will have to have floorspace of at least 10.22 metres.

New licences will specify if a bedroom is suitable for a child or adult and will limit the number of people allowed to live in an HMO to the number of bed spaces.

“Every tenant has a right to a safe, secure and decent home. But far too many are being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who profit from providing overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes,” said Sharma

“Enough is enough and so I’m putting these rogue landlords on notice – shape up or ship out of the rental business.

“Through a raft of new powers, we are giving councils the further tools they need to crack down these rogue landlords and kick them out of the business for good.”

Other powers will help councils to hold landlords responsible for clearing rubbish left by tenants while following council recycling rules.

Another measure will list crimes, such as burglary and stalking, that will allow councils to ban landlords from renting out property.

These crimes will also be highlighted on the new government national database of landlords who are convicted of criminal or housing offences.