Concern has been expressed that with just days to go before the new mandatory HMO regime comes in, there are councils which do not know about it.
The new rules come in next Monday, October 1, but a number of the local authorities which are meant to police it are unaware of the changes.
The claim comes from Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association.
He said: “We have been contacted by a number of our members who have tried to apply for licences, but the local authority has purported not to know anything about it or simply didn’t have the systems in place to process the applications.
“This is an unacceptable failing on the part of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which should have ensured all local authorities were up to speed with the changes.
“It’s disappointing that more consideration hasn’t been made for the significance of this change and the challenges local authorities face in implementing it.
“Our advice to landlords who have encountered this is to apply for an HMO licence using the existing process, even if the council hasn’t updated their forms.”
From next Monday, the new mandatory HMO licensing rules effectively remove the height criteria.
Currently, properties shared by five or more people living in two or more households must be licensed if they are three or more storeys high.
From next week, properties must be licensed as HMOs regardless of how many storeys they are. An exemption applies to purpose-built flats in blocks with three or more self-contained flats.
Properties that fall into the scope of the new definition but are already licensed under a selective or additional scheme, will be passported over to the new scheme at no cost to the landlord.
Lambert is also concerned that a number of landlords have not yet applied for licences.
He said: “The Government made the announcement about mandatory HMO licensing in January, but we’re concerned that many landlords may not have applied for their licenses.
“We encourage all landlords to make sure they do so before October 1 to be compliant.
“It may be that landlords thought there was a six-month grace period, as was originally proposed.
“This is not the case and we don’t want to see anyone committing an offence through ignorance.”
Landlords without a licence for an HMO that should be licensed risk fines of £30,000.