Landlords who let a house or flat in England to more tenants than may be comfortable could be in for a shock. The law on these properties being registered with the local housing authority as being in multiple occupation has changed as from 1 October 2018 under the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 SI/2018/ 221. Mandatory registration had been required for a house which had at least three storeys and was occupied by at least five people in two or more separate households. Now, a house with just one storey or more which is occupied in this way must be registered.
When it comes to flats, mandatory registration was required for large flats in multiple occupation above and below business premises which comprised at least three storeys. Less than three flats in the building will now do. What are targeted are not developments with large purpose built flats above commercial premises but flats above shops on traditional high street locations.
Here's the punchline. If the landlord should have registered but has failed to do so, they -
- commit a criminal offence
- can be ordered to repay you rent ( see http://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/rent%20repayment%20orders) and
- (for some this could be the best bit) cannot give you a valid notice to get out under section 21 of the Housing Act 2018 which applies to assure shorthand tenancies.
If you think the landlord should have registered but may not have done so then check with the local housing authority.
Other laws also in force on 1 October 2018 but in England only extend the conditions to which multiple occupation licences will be subject to cover minimum sleeping standards, maximum occupation of rooms and domestic waste. They are the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018 SI/2018/616.
There's loadsalaw on landlord and tenant rights and disputes in my book Breaking Law which I haven't plugged for a couple of minutes.