Which properties need a HMO licence

Not all HMOs require a licence. However, under the provisions of the national mandatory licensing scheme, a building, or part of a building, requires a mandatory HMO licence if it is a HMO with five or more people in occupation, who form two or more households, and the property fulfils the standard, self- contained flat or the converted building tests as detailed in Section 254 Housing Act 2004.

A separate licence is needed for each HMO property.

Failure to apply for a licence is a criminal offence and can result in a civil penalty or an unlimited fine.

To grant you a licence, we must be satisfied that:

  • the proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • the proposed licence holder, and any manager of the property, is a “fit and proper person”
  • proper management standards are in place at the property
  • the HMO is reasonably suitable, or can be made suitable, for occupation by the number of persons allowed under the licence, and achieves the minimum prescribed standards of fire precautions, amenities and facilities, including the number, type and quality of shared bathrooms, toilets and    cooking facilities.  Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Property and    Management Standards 

The licence application form contains questions which will enable us to decide whether or not the landlord and the property meet the criteria to be given a licence.

The council also has discretionary powers to widen the remit of licensing to include smaller HMOs if several in an area are badly managed by declaring an area for Additional Licensing, and all privately-rented properties in an area by declaring an area of Selective Licensing

Who must hold the licence?

The landlord, or someone they nominate, such as a manager or agent, can hold the licence, provided that person is in agreement, as the licence must be held by most appropriate ‘fit and proper’ person.

In determining whether a licence-holder is ‘fit and proper, we will consider:

  • any previous convictions relating to violence, sexual offences, drugs and fraud
  • whether the proposed licence holder has broken any laws relating to housing or landlord and tenant issues
  • whether the person has been found guilty of unlawful discrimination
  • whether the person has previously managed HMOs that have broken any approved code of practice.

It is advisable for the landlord or manager to be a member of a professionally recognised body, such as the Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme, National Landlords Association, or Residential Landlords Association.

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