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Update on new HMO regime

The Department for Communities has published a stakeholder engagement document, outlining draft regulations for the new Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) regime. The change to HMOs and the regulation of these dwellings has come about as a result of the Houses in Multiple Occupation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016. In the document, the Department set out its aim to introduce a new licensing scheme for HMOs from 1 April 2019.

New standards for HMOs

The document contains copies of a number of draft regulations which will underpin the new regime. When providing evidence on the draft bill in 2015, Housing Rights sought assurances that the new regime would apply more robust minimum standards for HMOs than the fitness standard which currently applies to Northern Ireland, and the new draft regulations set out more detailed minimum standards, as well as a list of prescribed hazards, modeled on the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. 

In addition, the document sets out a draft code of practice for management of HMOs, something which is allowed for under Section 63 of the 2016 Act. 

Feedback on draft regulations

The Department is seeking feedback on both the draft regulations and the code of practice. Comments should be received by 30 November 2018. 

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Private Tenancies, Policy

This article was written on 13 November 2018. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.