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'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.
Apply for a HMO Licence
You can apply online now (gov.uk). Applications must be made to the Council. A fee will be charged for a 5 year licence in accordance with the Council's fees and charges.
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.
Inspection of HMOs
Our 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 or to report concerns about the condition of a property contact our Housing Standards team on 01785 619000.
HMO Licence Register
We are required to keep a register of HMO licences which includes information on each property that we have licensed. Any person can arrange to view the register for free at the Council office by contacting the Housing Standards team to arrange a date and time to do so. A copy of the register can be sent by email for a fee. Please contact the team for more details.