Landlords across the district are being warned to observe changes in the law when renting houses of multiple occupancy, or they could face a fine of £30,000 and a criminal record.
Changes by the government mean landlords of HMOs need to apply for a licence for one and two storey buildings, the deadline is October, 1. A new definition for this type of housing is also being introduced.
Licences will be required for properties occupied by five or more people, if they are made up by more than two households and where occupants share amenities like bathrooms. The law also introduces changes to rules on room sizes and what they can be used for.
These rules also apply to purpose-built flats which fall under these new definitions. It applies if there are up to two or more flats in a block and either one, or both, fit the definition.
Harrogate Borough Council held information events earlier in the year to raise awareness of the changes. From October the council will be carrying out checks to ensure HMOs in the district are complying with the law.
HBC Coun Mike Chambers, Cabinet member for housing, said:“Landlords across the Harrogate district need to act now if they want to stay on the right side of the law from October.
“Even the smallest houses of multiple occupancy need to be licenced in future. Our private sector housing team is here to help and can provide advice to landlords."