Those who live in, own or let a shared house or flat in the private housing sector are being encouraged to have their say on proposed standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Essex by taking part in an online consultation which launches today.
Those who would like to take part in the Essex-wide survey, can do so at www.colchester.gov.uk/hmoconsultation until 19 June. Responses received will then feed in to new County-wide HMO standards which are being updated in preparation for new licensing laws that will apply to HMOs from 1 October 2018.
To prepare for the change to the law, CBC is working with partner councils across Essex, to improve the required standards of shared accommodation and revise amenity standards guidelines, such as room sizes and shared facilities, to move in line with the changes to the law. From 1 October, local and district councils will decide whether thousands of HMOs across Essex are suitable to be licensed, having regard to the new guidance on HMO amenity standards.
CBC is consulting with as broad a selection of the community as possible. Tenants of HMOs, landlords, property managers and those who represent any of these groups are particularly encouraged to take part. The new guidance will help inform which HMOs under the new law are suitable to be licensed and gives everyone affected by the changes a meaningful say in how they are implemented.
The new HMO licensing laws are set to increase the number of HMOs requiring a licence and are likely to affect hundreds of properties across the borough. They will introduce the need for many properties which have not previously required a licence to have one. From 1 October 2018 all homes let to five or more people who form two or more households (a household constitutes members of the same family) and who share at least one basic amenity such as a bathroom, WC or kitchen, will require a licence to continue operating.
Those taking part in the online consultation, can also register to receive future updates on the HMO licensing laws.
Adrian Pritchard, Chief Executive of Colchester Borough Council, said: 'We're committed to ensuring there are good quality homes within the private housing sector in Colchester by being part of the development of standards for HMOs across Essex.
"This consultation provides those with an interest in HMOs to have their say on what's needed and wanted and I would encourage them to have their say before 19 June."