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problem with HMO license extension, re: bedroom size

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Author Topic: problem with HMO license extension, re: bedroom size  (Read 156 times)
Newbie
Posts: 2

I like property

« on: February 17, 2022, 10:45:11 PM »

Hello,

Novice landlord here Ė last year I inherited my late parentsí buy-to-let property in Lewisham, London, a 3-bedroom flat on the ground and basement of a converted house. Itís a nice flat with a back garden, always well maintained, and always rented out for the past 20 years to groups of three friends, either postgraduate students or young professionals, often with tenancies renewing for many years.

The problem Iím facing is that, while two of the bedrooms are doubles, the third is small, with a floor area of just over 5 m sq (though thatís enough to fit a single bed and desk, with lots of storage space up above). This was never a problem when my parents were the landlords, because although the property was an HMO, only HMOs of more than five occupants needed to be licensed. But Iíve just found out that as of April this year Lewisham council are extending the license requirement to HMOs with three occupants Ė and the standards for licensable HMOs state that a single bedroom must be a minimum of 6.51 m sq.

Does anyone have any advice on what I can do? Is there any way round this requirement? It would be such a shame if the property could only be let as a 2-bed, not least of course because of the reduction in rentÖ Does anyone know if councils ever offer exceptions for this sort of thing? Itís hardly the case of me being a slum landlord, where Iím trying to cram as many occupants in as possible! Itís just that one of the rooms happens to be small Ė and this canít be altered, itís the way the house is built (itís a Victorian build, a former shop and stables). All other aspects of the property would meet the licence requirements.

Also, what should I do about the current tenancy Ė a 2-year AST with 12-month break clause, which started in Sept 2021? As always, the property was rented to three tenants, all named on the AST. But as of April, am I going to be allowed to continue to rent to the current 3 tenants without a license (which I most probably wonít be able to get)? So what do I do?

Any advice would be hugely welcome!
Newbie
Posts: 2

I like property

« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2022, 08:00:11 AM »

You'll need to do a bit of research, but I seem to remember there might be two or so options. If that small room has a dedicated other room, let's call it a walk in wardrobe then perhaps those two volumes could be combined. There may also be some dispensation on properties that have a sitting tenant, but that dispensation won't last long, compliance will ultimately be required.
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