11 Jun 2019

Following the announcement by Birmingham City Council to restrict planning for HMOs by means of a city-wide Article 4 direction, Landlords Defence warns existing landlords with Rental Proprties from 3 to 4  sharers that they must register those properties with the Council and that they MUST have incontrovertible proof that the property has operated as an HMO for a considerable time in order to avoid being forced to apply for planning permission. Landlords who need help with this or with completing the Council form should get in touch via help@lldl.co.uk

Any landlords with properties of 5 sharers or more should already have a mandatory HMO licence. Any who don’t should contact landlords Defence for emergency assistance.

Said Phil Turtle, compliance consultant at Landlords Defence. “Many landlords with Rental Proprties of 3 and 4 sharers do not realise that by law their properties need to comply with the HMO Management Regulations and HHSRS (the housing health and safety rating system). Until now, they have managed to stay under the radar, because the Council did not have their details.

“Once Landlords have submitted their details (as requested by the council) they will automatically be on the compliance  surveillance list and subject to random inspections and then fines or prosecution if they are not fully compliant on fire safety and 28 other risk factors.  Landlords who are unsure they comply should request a compliance audit from help@lldl.co.uk so that they can ensure they are fully compliant before the council housing enforcement team come to inspect.”

Civil penalty fines for non compliance are up to £30,000 per breach or an unlimited sum together with a criminal record if the council chooses to prosecute.

Here is the official council announcement:

Birmingham City Council has made a decision to introduce a city-wide Article 4 Direction, which will mean a planning application must  be submitted for proposals to convert family houses (C3 use class) to small Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) accommodating between 3 and 6 people (C4 use class). The Council is now commencing a 6-week period to publicise the city-wide direction from Thursday 6 June 2019.

An existing Article 4 Direction for the same purpose is currently in place covering parts of Selly Oak, Harborne and Edgbaston. To avoid duplication in coverage, this existing direction will be cancelled, but to ensure that there is no gap in coverage the cancellation will happen on the same day that the new city-wide direction will come in to force.

The Council is inviting public comments as part of this publicity period. These will be taken in to account when the direction is confirmed later this year. Following confirmation, the direction will come in to force on Monday 8 June 2020. The consultation will close on Thursday 18 July 2019.

If you are the landlord of an existing small HMO, we are asking that you declare this to us and provide details of the address of the property and any evidence to show that it is an existing HMO. This will ensure that we have as much information as possible about existing HMOs in the city before the Article 4 Direction becomes enforceable.

Ends