The mandatory HMO licensing regime is to be extended to two-storey homes and even bungalows, while there will have to be minimum bedroom sizes.
It effectively means that as from next year, all HMOs in England with five or more sharers will be caught by the mandatory licensing regime.
The crackdown on single-storey dwellings would encompass “beds in sheds”.
The minimum bedroom size would be 6.5 square metres.
It is also proposed that some blocks of flats should count as HMOs if they have been “poorly converted”.
Currently, the mandatory regime applies to shared rental homes of three or more storeys occupied by five or more people who do not form a single household.
A new consultation, which proposes to extend the mandatory regime throughout England, would still stick to the “five or more people” and at least two households definition.
The so-called technical discussion document relates to a statement made by David Cameron in May when he announced a new mandatory licensing regime.
The paper, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, says that some landlords are not just failing to manage their HMOs property but are positively exploiting tenants “and often the public purse through housing benefit, by renting sub-standard, overcrowded and dangerous accommodation to vulnerable tenants”.
The paper notes that not all local authorities have introduced their own additional licensing schemes.
It also notes: “Many landlords and agents do an excellent job in managing their HMOs to high professional standards, but that is far from universal.”
It goes on to say that it has become “an increasing priority to ensure smaller HMOs are adequately protected and properly managed”.
In a further proposed change, the paper says that currently landlords are exempt from selective licensing schemes if they let to family members.
The Government intends to remove this exemption because it says it has been abused.
The paper says that local authorities have spent time and resources trying to establish the identities of various tenants.
The consultation closes on December 18 and the changes are due to be introduced next year.
Meanwhile, local councils are still gearing up to introduce their own additional licensing schemes, including those which extend across large areas or even the complete city or borough to encompass all rental properties and not just HMOs.
The latest is the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, which would want to introduce licensing of all private rented accommodation in one fifth of its borough.
In Blackpool, the first five prosecutions have been brought against landlords who have failed to apply for licences.
The new consultation is here