Houses in multiple occupancy
Licensing a house in multiple occupation
Mandatory licensing of HMOs applies to those properties which represent the highest risk to their occupiers. These are HMOs which:
- are three or more storeys
- occupied by five or more people living as two or more households; and
- include shared amenities such as kitchens, bathrooms, toilets
Who should apply for a licence?
Landlords must apply for a licence which will last for up to five years. By possessing a licence, landlords will be demonstrating their responsibility to tenants, as only properties found to be satisfactory by the council's housing service will be licensed. Properties capable of being brought up to a satisfactory standard will be licensed subject to conditions to ensure improvements are made within an agreed timescale.
What is the cost of a licence?
The licence fee is £500 where the house is occupied by five or more people living as two or more households up to a maximum of seven lettings. For eight lettings and above the licence fee is increased by £20 per letting.
Please note landlords who are accredited through the council's accreditation scheme will receive a 25% discount on re-licensing.
What requirements need to be met for a licence to be issued?
The housing service will ensure that the HMO meets the requirements necessary for protecting the health, safety and welfare of tenants.
In particular, the council will check that the property meets the councils standards for HMOs and has:
- adequate facilities/amenities and space for the number of occupants;
- correctly installed smoke alarms and properly maintained and unobstructed means of escape in
case of fire (including fire doors and other fire precautions); and
- been adequately maintained and is in good repair
The person applying for the licence must also be a 'fit and proper person'. In general terms this is a person who is competent to manage the property and has the resources to do it.
Details of licensed HMOs are available to the public so that tenants can find out if their landlord is complying with required standards.
Failed application redress
You may appeal to a residential property tribunal. Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.
Licence holder redress
You may appeal to a residential property tribunal regarding conditions attached to a licence or any decision to vary or revoke a licence. Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.
If a licence is granted and you wish to appeal against it being granted you may do so to a residential property tribunal within 28 days of the decision being made.
What are the penalties if a property is not licensed when it should be?
It is an offence if the landlord or person in control of the property:
- fails to apply for a licence for a licensable property; or
- allows a property to be occupied by more people than are permitted under the licence
A fine of up to £20,000 may be imposed. In addition, breaking any of the licence conditions can result in fines of up to £5,000. Rent repayment orders to re-pay any rent whilst the property was unlicensed, may be made.
Please see documents in the download section on the right hand side of this page for HMO application form and licence fees.
Further information regarding the licensing of HMOs can be obtained by contacting the private sector housing team on the details below.
Private Sector Housing
Tel: 024 7637 6406