Lawyers publish HMO guide to help landlords fight ‘capricious’ councils – LandlordZONE

A new book aims to help landlords and housing professionals decipher the complex and constantly evolving laws around HMOs.

Authors, property lawyer David Smith and his colleague Neli Borisova at JMW Solicitors, look at part two of the Housing Act 2004 – that environmental health officers use to regulate the sector – as well as the 2016 Housing and Planning Act, analysing key tribunal cases, and how they interpret and develop the law.

Houses of Multiple Occupation and Selective Licensing explains how the law’s effect on landlords depends on the way it is interpreted by these courts, particularly when Upper Tribunal rulings on issues such as Rent Repayment Orders aren’t binding on each other.

He believes the legal system was not entirely well thought out and has led to many landlords failing to properly understand their obligations.

“It created a structure which owed more to the views of desk-bound civil servants than to the often messy reality of residential properties,” he writes.

“Some local authorities have unfortunately failed to understand the legislation at all and have acted in ways which the legislation simply does not permit or have behaved in an illogical and capricious manner.”

Professional sharers

Smith tells LandlordZONE that HMOs have started to move away from just being poor quality, budget accommodation to encompassing more premium properties complete with features and services such as broadband, which attracts professional sharers.

He adds: “It will be interesting to see how things shape up once the property portal takes effect – which is a form of landlord registration – and if it takes the impetus away from councils’ licensing schemes.”

The book will be available from 31st October, through Amazon or direct via publisher Routledge.

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