It has been mandatory for large houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) with three or more storeys and five or more occupants who do not form a single household, to be licensed in England and Wales since 6 April 2006.
Ministers are to seek approval from parliament to extend mandatory licensing to smaller HMOs and also to introduce a minimum room size in these properties.
It is proposed that rooms used for sleeping by one adult would have to be no smaller than 6.51 sq metres (70 sq ft), and those slept in by two adults would have to be no smaller than 10.22 sq metres. Rooms slept in by children aged 10 or younger would have to be at least 4.64 sq metres in size.
The changes are likely to mean that mandatory licensing will apply to a house share of a 2 storey building (or less), with five or more occupants, if at least two of them are unrelated (from different households). This will therefore include, student housing where students have their own rooms in a standard house, sharing bathroom and kitchen. It will also include any flats above or below shops and other business premises meeting the new criteria.