All landlords of HMOs in England and Wales – as well as other forms of short assured tenancies (ASTs) - are required to register their tenants’ deposits in a government-approved scheme.
This has been the case for a number of years now and it’s been designed to protect both the landlord and the tenant following some lengthy and expensive court cases – not to mention unsavoury practices amongst landlords and unhappy tenants.
In an ideal situation (which is why the law was introduced) the tenant receives their deposit back once the tenancy has ended and both parties are happy with the duration of the tenancy and the condition of the property. This should be within 10 days.
Here at Property Go To Girl something we get asked a lot by prospective landlords and those interested in the buy to let market (whether for an HMO in Oxford or a straightforward one/two bedroom let) is whether it makes more sense to furnish a flat or leave it in all its naked glory with just bare wells and floorboards so that the tenant can put their own mark/s on it.
Last week in the Property Go-To Girl blog we discussed what was involved in applying for and getting an HMO license. This week we're looking at a different piece of legislation which could relate to HMOs - an Article 4 Direction.
What is an Article 4 Direction?
This piece of legislation was introduced towards the end of 2010 in essence to allow local authorities to 'protect the character of a Conservation Area or the visual amenities of other areas'. In terms of HMOs it means restricting the number of shared housing in a particular locale (presumably to cut back on the number of students or young people living there and encourage families instead in an effort to cut back on perceived social housing difficulties). Some local authorities allow only 10 per cent of housing in a particular area to be classed as HMOs.
HMO in property circles is an abbreviation for the words House in Multiple Occupation. It's pretty self-explanatory in the sense that it's for a house or apartment which is rented out to more than one tenant (in fact a minimum of three). An HMO licence is necessary if this is the case.
This licence is a piece of paper (or electronic document) which states that the house is habitable ie. it passes health and safety guidelines in terms of there being a fire plan, it has adequate facilities and complies with other local authority stipulations for HMO status. Indeed it's your local authority that administers the licence and each local authority may have slightly different qualifications so it's worth checking locally rather than going on to a national website for clarification.
I'm Jacquie the Property Go-To Girl. I am passionate about property. I love to help people make the most out of their property investments!