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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 October 2006, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Rent rise threat from new rules
Run down flats
New rules are intended to ensure minimum standards for shared accommodation
Watch: Simon's full report
Landlords are warning that rents may have to rise to cover the cost of complying with tough new government regulations.

Introduced in April 2006, the rules are intended to improve the standard of accommodation in shared houses and flats known as 'houses in multiple occupation' (HMOs).

Properties in England with three or more floors and five or more tenants are now required to hold a licence from their local authority.

The precise licensing regime and costs vary around the country, with councils free to set their own fee levels and compliance standards.

Caught up

Working Lunch viewer Matthew Moody says he feels one of his properties is being unfairly caught up in the regulations.

As well as facing a 300 bill for a licence, he has been told he must install a industrial standard fire protection system which will cost well over 5,000.

Matthew Moody
Landlord Matthew Moody says rogue operators are dodging the rules

The rules also state that his property's kitchen must have two ovens and two hobs to cater for the five tenants.

Separate toilet

"Rents may have to go up to compensate," he warns.

"The other thing I'm quite concerned about is - how can you sell a property that has had all these adjustments made - you're going to have to rip all that out".

One of the building's bedrooms can't be rented out at all because there isn't a separate toilet within a floor of it as the WC happens to be in a bathroom.

Matthew believes the legislation is hitting responsible landlords while the rogue ones are simply failing to register their properties.

Rents up

The National Landlords Association claims compliance costs may lead to small landlords selling their properties, reducing the supply of accommodation and therefore pushing rents up.

They are also unhappy with the local variations in fees levied by councils, with one authority charging 1,100 for a licence.

Where landlords feel the regulations are too onerous, the government stresses it is possible to appeal to a tribunal.

They also argue that is too early to judge whether landlords are selling up, as the regulations have only been in place since April.


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