New requirements for shared houses and bedsits

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Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has joined authorities across Essex to seek local people’s views on updated guidance that would regulate shared houses and bedsits.

From 1 October 2018, all houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) with five or more people living as two or more households sharing facilities will legally require a licence and national minimum room sizes will apply for the first time.

Councils across Essex are taking this as an opportunity to revise their “Amenity Standards for HMOs” to reflect the change of legislation and are now asking local people to give their views on the new standards. They are particularly interested in hearing the views of landlords, managing agents, tenants or anyone otherwise involved in HMOs.

Cllr Tony Cox, Cabinet Member for Adults and Housing, said: “As demand for housing nationally and locally continues to outstrip supply, more and more people are living in shared accommodation and bedsits.

“The quality of accommodation can vary greatly and we are looking to introduce updated local requirements that ensure an acceptable quality of living for their tenants.

“For the first time, regulations specify minimum room sizes. The proposed requirements also specify the size and facilities of shared spaces, such as kitchens and dining areas.

“We want to make sure that what we are proposing works for both tenants and landlords and strongly urge anyone with an interest in HMOs to have their say.”

What do I need to do?

· Have Your Say – to participate in the consultation please go to
https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=152104097570 - open until 19 June 2018. Alternatively, go to www.southend.gov.uk, select “Give your view, then consultations, your voice and select “Essex HMO amenity consultation”.
· Check the Council’s website (www.southend.gov.uk) later this year for confirmation of the adopted Standards.
· Please give your email address at the end of the survey, if you wish to be updated.

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