Hertsmere Borough Council urged all the landlords owning Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to apply for licences or risk criminal prosecution and financial penalties which could run into the thousands of pounds.
It comes after legislative changes of 1 October 2018 which changed the definition of an HMO covered by mandatory licensing to include properties occupied by five or more persons, from two or more separate households, regardless of the number of storeys. Minimum room size requirements were also changed that prevents letting out rooms smaller than 6.51 square metres.
Only 40 applications had been received since the changes came into effect, confirmed the council . This contrasts with their projections of 160 to 200 houses which they expected to have been affected.
The council accented that landlords now are offered a final opportunity to apply for the licence before they will begin seeking enforcement action. The cost of licence for a basic five-person HMO is £800 with an additional fee of £70 for each person over five.