If your property has more than 5 rooms then your automatically required to have a licence regardless of the geographical area under new Government legislation.
What is the definition of a household?
A household, in relation to HMO, is defined as;
A single person, or several members of the same family who live together.
Each tenant from a separate family is classed as a separate household.
How is the term ‘family’ defined?
Married couples who live together
Two persons living together
Including couples in same sex relationships
Relatives or half relatives count as the same ‘family’. This includes; grandparents, step parents, aunts, uncles, siblings & step siblings.
How do I apply for an HMO licence?
To apply for a HMO licence you would need to contact your local authority. Before applying for any type of HMO licence you should first consider if your property meets the requirement levels that all HMO landlords need to meet.
Failure to comply with HMO licence conditions can result in prosecution.
Why did the government introduce Licences for HMO's?
The shortage in available affordable housing has seen a trend in landlords renting every available space to tenants desperate for affordable living accommodation. This brought about great risks with fire safety standards, overcrowding and poor inadequate shared facilities.
By introducing HMO licensing the Government and Local Authorities hope to raise standards in available affordable housing.
What will the Council take into account in deciding whether or not to grant a licence for an HMO?
All Local Authorities must take the following factors in to consideration when deciding upon whether to grant a HMO licence:
Is the property in question suitable for the number of tenants
Is the Landlord a ‘fit and proper person’ to be managing a HMO.
Are the shared facilities suitable for the number of tenants
It is worth noting that there are other factors that might be taken in to account when Local Authorities look to grant HMO licences. Every property is dealt with on a case by case basis.
Are there penalties for not having a HMO licence?
It is a criminal offence to rent and manage a property as a HMO without a licence. This is subject to Section 72 of the Housing Act 2004.
If a Landlord is found guilty of running a HMO without a licence, he or she, can be fined up to £20,000 and can be made subject to a Rent Repayment Order which would demand the repayment of any rent received from the time they were notified that a licence was required.
What is a fit and proper person?
A Local Authority will apply the rules of Section 66 of the Housing Act 2004 to determine if someone meets the requirements of a ‘Fit and Proper Person’.
A HMO Landlord must not have any of the convictions;
Any offences of fraud
Any offences related to dishonesty
Offences of violence
Unlawful discrimination in business
Any contraventions of the housing law
Are there conditions attached to a HMO licence?
HMO licences come with conditions attached to ensure that the standards set for HMO’s are continually maintained.
There are mandatory conditions that include;
Annual Gas Safety certificates
Electrical / appliance declarations
Smoke alarm and fire regulations
There are also conditions relating to the shared facilities in any HMO, the general management of the building and it’s tenants behaviour.
How long does a HMO licence last?
A HMO licence generally lasts for a maximum period of 5 years. A Local Authority does reserve the right to grant a licence for a shorter period of time if it deems it necessary.
Furthermore, licences are not transferable and if you purchase a property that is already a licenced HMO, the new Landlord will need to apply for a new licence.
Every HMO property needs a individual licence so a person that owns and operates more then one HMO will need separate licences for each property.
What happens if I breach any of the conditions of a HMO licence?
If a landlord fails to continually meet the conditions of an HMO licence without reasonable explanation you can face fines of up to £5,000.
Serious breaches may also end with a licence being revoked permanently.
What is the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and how does it apply to HMO's?
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) replaced the former “fitness for human habitation” standard, as the new minimum standard for housing of multiple occupation.
The HHSRS is concerned with removing potential hazards in any building and it imposes duties on Local Authorities to take action in the most serious cases.
The Government has produced detailed guidance for both landlords and property managers to help them assess and eliminate the risks of such hazards.
Do I require Planning Permission for a HMO?
For houses of multiple occupation (HMO’s) of up to 6 tenants planning permission is not required. But you may need to apply for change of use under permitted development law.
For properties with more than 6 tenants planning permission will is required.
How much does it cost to convert a house in to a HMO?
The associated costs of converting a house in to an HMO will greatly vary dependant of numerous factors including;
Extending a property to increase the number of rooms
Loft, side, rear and wrap around extensions
General building works
Fire safety implementations
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