HL Deb 24 November 2004 vol 667 cc3-4WS
The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker)

My right honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Planning has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

My right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister has today published for public consultation a paper on licensing in the private rented sector concerning the implementation of housing in multiple occupation (HMO) licensing. This paper seeks to explain the Government's proposals for licensing in the private rented sector that have been set in place by the Housing Act, which has just received Royal Assent. In particular, the paper explains the Government's proposals for HMO licensing and sets out proposals for the secondary instruments required to implement these measures.

The powers in the Act and proposed secondary legislation will require local authorities to introduce licensing for HMOs. Licensing will enable local authorities to:

  • Ensure that landlords are fit and proper persons or employ agents who are.
  • Ensure that the standards of tenancy relations management and property management employed by a landlord or agent are adequate.
  • Impose conditions on licences to achieve improvements in management where necessary.
  • Step in and manage properties where landlords refuse to meet the required criteria.
  • Protect vulnerable tenants.
  • Ensure that HMOs are not occupied by excessive numbers of people.
  • Identify high risk HMOs and their landlords, so that health and safety measures under Part 1 of the Act can be targeted on the worst cases.

The paper invites interested parties to comment on how these powers should be implemented in relation to HMO licensing through the necessary secondary legislation.

Copies of the paper are being sent to a wide range of interested parties including local authorities, landlord and tenant organisations and others with an interest in this issue. The closing date for responses is 2 February 2005.

Copies of the paper will also be placed in the Libraries of the House and will be available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at www.odpm.gov.uk