House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and Mandatory Licensing
You need to apply for a licence if you're a landlord of a licensable House in Multiple Occupation.
This means the property meets certain standards and is safe and suitable for the number of people who live there.
Your property is a licensable House of Multiple Occupancy if all the following apply;
- it has any number of storeys
- it's occupied by five or more people from two or more households
- it has shared facilities like a kitchen, bathroom or laundry room
A household is a family, cohabiting couple or separate individuals. For example, four friends are four households, even if they share a tenancy.
In some cases a maisonette in a house or above commercial premises may need a licence.
Important Changes to HMO Licensing Conditions
Currently it is only HMOs in an additional licensing scheme, or with three or more storeys and five or more people that need a licence.
From 1 October 2018 HMOs that are occupied by five or more people with any number of storeys will be licensable. This means that flats, converted flats and one or two storey properties will become licensable.
Licensing will also apply to blocks of purpose-built flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or more are occupied as a HMO.
Apply for a HMO Licence
A licence will be granted where it can be evidenced that;
- the proposed licence holder and any manager of the property is a fit and proper person
- proper management standards are being applied at the property
- the HMO meets the minimum national standards for the number of tenants
It is an offence not to licence a HMO where a licence is required. If a HMO is found without a licence, the penalty can be an unlimited fine and the previous year's rent can be reclaimed by any tenant (or the Council if housing benefit is paid). This is called a rent repayment order. In some cases Civil/Financial penalties can be issued by the Council of up to £30,000 per offence.
Any applications not received before 1 October 2018 for properties that are being used as HMOs will be treated as unlicensed.
Inspection of HMOs
Stafford Borough Council's Housing Standards Team inspects HMOs at regular intervals to ensure all the standards are being complied with. Officers have strong legal powers to enforce these standards, where necessary. An inspection may be carried out at any time in connection with any enquiries received from occupiers or neighbours. For more information on the responsibilities of a HMO landlord view the Management Regulations 2006 (pdf 28kb) or to report concerns about the condition of a property contact our Housing Standards Team on 01785 619000.