With less than a week to go before the introduction of new rules extending the range of properties subject to mandatory HMO licensing, the National Landlords Association (NLA) is concerned that councils may not be ready.

From October 1 HMO licenses will be required by all properties are occupied by five or more persons, and by persons living in two or more separate households.

Properties that come under the new definition but are already licensed under a selective or additional scheme, will automatically be transferred to the new scheme at no cost to the landlord.

Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NLA, said: “We have been contacted by a number of our members who have tried to apply for licenses, 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 license using the existing process, even if the council hasn’t updated their forms.”

The guidance for local authorities on HMO and residential property reforms is available at gov.co.uk.