LANDLORDS are being reminded that the law affecting houses of multiple of occupation (HMO) changes in next month.

Previously, landlords only had to licence HMOs with five people or more in separate households, sharing amenities and if the house was three or more storeys.

But as of the October 1, HMOs with five or more people must be licenced regardless of the number of floors in the property. This could include apartments, flats above shops, two storey houses and bungalows.

Failure to comply with this legal obligation could result in a fine of up to £30,000.

There is also a new legal minimum requirement for HMOs to have a floor area no-smaller than 6.51 square metres.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for housing, Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, said: “There are now many more HMOs in Sandwell. It is essential that they all meet a decent, safe standard and have the full fire precautions that are required by law.

“I am pleased that the Government has changed the rules so that smaller HMOs now fall into the licensing regime.

“We are aware that this change will possibly bring an extra 500 properties into the licensing criteria, so I urge any landlords with such a property to apply now to avoid receiving a hefty fine.”

Landlords with properties that fall under this category need to visit to find out how to complete the application form and pay the fee.

Discounts are available to landlords who are MLAS, NLA and RLA members and there are also discounts for multiple applications.