Here in Chichester District, private rented shared accommodation offers a key way for people to find somewhere affordable to live and we know that most of our landlords provide excellent homes for a wide variety of people.

Over the past few years though, there has been some national concern about the quality of houses of multiple occupation (HMOs). In order to raise the standards of private shared rented housing, a new law has just been brought in by the Government. One of the aims is to prevent overcrowding of rooms and so it introduces a minimum size requirement for bedrooms.   

This new law means that across the country, any landlord who rents a property to five or more people who are unrelated, who also share bathroom and kitchen facilities, must apply for a new licence. This is regardless of how many storeys the property has. Previously, only properties of three or more storeys with five or more occupants required a licence.

The new law aims to protect people and improve safety, and so there is also a particular requirement around fire regulations. Landlords need to ensure that fire risks are identified and that fire equipment is properly maintained. They also have a duty to ensure fire alarm systems are installed, maintained and tested properly. The regulations also require landlords to provide adequate facilities for storing refuse and recycling.

We want to let our landlords know about these new regulations and our Housing Standards team is happy to answer questions from landlords, agents and tenants. They can be contacted on 01243 534570. We have also updated the information on our housing advice page.

Landlords must apply before 1 October 2018 and so if you know someone who this is relevant to, please encourage them to get in touch with us before this time.

Best Wishes

Councillor Jane Kilby

Cabinet Member for Housing at Chichester District Council