The number of licences issued for shared houses in Bournemouth has more than tripled over the last year.
Regulation changes introduced by the government last year caused a steep rise in the number of houses in multiple occupation (HMO) seeking registration across the boroughs.
572 HMO licences have been issued by the council – an increase from just 160 the previous year – but about 2,000 are thought to still be unauthorised, show the researches in the last 12 months.
The new rules brought in last year relaxed the definition of an HMO with there no longer a three-storey minimum in place.
This has caused an increase in the number of houses falling under the requirements to be licensed.
Kelly Ansell, a report by the council’s head of regulatory services, says: “This year has seen a significant change to the regulations relating to mandatory licensing of HMOs which has led to an increase in the number licensed in Bournemouth and Poole.”
The council claims there are about 3,000 homes in the borough which would fall under the classification with about one-third having gone through the process of applying to be registered.
Before a five-year licence is granted, each home is inspected to ensure that living and fire safety standards are at the required levels.
The report adds: “We are undertaking investigations to identify licensable HMOs which have not yet registered under the new regulations, of which, approximately 1,800 are occupied by students.
“Where we find unlicensed HMOs, formal action will be taken.”
“Prosecution or penalties of up to £30,000 may be issued for not holding a licence and this may lead to the landlord being placed on the national rogue landlord database or having a banning order place upon them.”
The council had predicted a rise in the number of applications for HMOs, most of which house students, to be licensed with the April regulations change increasing the number of licensable properties from 529 to about 3,000.
Last year, it prosecuted several property management companies and individuals for alleged following concerns about the condition of HMOs.