New housing legislation to affect 600 Chelmsford properties

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An estimated six hundred rental properties in the Chelmsford area are expected to be affected by new national regulations.

Currently, if you are letting out a house in multiple occupation (HMO), it only needs a licence if it has three or more storeys. From 1 October, however, this rule will no longer apply as regulations that extend mandatory HMO licensing are coming into force.

Chelmsford City Council is writing to property owners who may be affected by this change in law. If you are a landlord who can answer ‘YES’ to both of the following questions, it is likely that your property will require a licence from your local council:

  • is the property occupied by five or more persons? and
  • is it occupied by persons living in two or more separate households?

A licence lasts for five years. To make sure residents are safe, it includes conditions relating to fire protection, smoke and carbon monoxide detection, room sizes and waste collection.

Councillor Susan Sullivan, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, said, “The advice is not to wait until the last minute to make an application for a licence. Your applications must be submitted by 1 October, after which it will be an offence to have an unlicensed HMO, but landlords and agents can apply now for a licence via the Council’s website.”

All HMOs have to have a certain level of facilities suitable for the number of occupants. Guidance on these facilities, and links to HMO licence application forms, can be found on the Council’s website at


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