Ten weeks of consultation has begun on the proposed expansion of mandatory licensing for shared homes in Portsmouth.
The council is considering bringing all houses in multiple occupation with three or four tenants under the same regulations as those with five or more.
The aim is to ensure the same good management and living standards apply to the thousands of shared homes in the city.
A final decision is expected to be made in the autumn on whether to introduce this additional licensing policy, with the first licences to be issued in spring 2023.
Portsmouth City Council estimates there are 4,800 HMOs within the city with three or four tenants. This category of smaller shared homes was included in mandatory licensing from 2013 to 2018 but only within certain parts of the city; the new proposal covers the whole city.
Cllr Darren Sanders, Cabinet Member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness, said: “We are committed to making renting privately easier and safer. It is clear from what people tell us is that – although many HMOs are good – some are not. We want all of them to be like the best. That benefits tenants, landlords and the people who live close to them.
“We think a consistent and fair licensing system across the whole of Portsmouth is the best way of doing that and we are keen to hear people’s views on whether they agree and what else they think we should do. Then we can improve living standards for everyone.”
About 25% of all the privately rented properties in Portsmouth are HMOs, which is approximately one in 15 of all the city’s properties, most densely concentrated in parts of Southsea. There are 1,200 HMOs currently licensed by the council.
The consultation is open for comments until 31 July. It can be completed by visiting www.portsmouth.gov.uk/HMOLicensing or call the City Help Desk for a paper copy to be sent by post on 023 9283 4092.
If introduced, licensing would require landlords to adhere to a number of conditions such as meeting the standards of a ‘fit and proper person’ test, which consists of a number of checks which are made when someone applies to be a licence-holder.
Properties are also inspected to check for potential health and safety issues and to ensure the property is appropriate for the number of tenants there.