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HMO license refused

Can we refuse to licence a property?

Yes, if the property does not meet the required conditions - for more information see houses-in-multiple-occupation.

What will happen then?

If a landlord fails to bring an HMO up to required standard, or fails to meet the fit and proper person criteria, we can issue an Interim Management Order (IMO), which allows us to step in and manage the property. The owner keeps their rights as an owner. This order can last for a year until suitable permanent management arrangements can be made. If the IMO expires and there has been no improvement, then we can issue a Final Management Order. This can last up to five years and can be renewed.

You may appeal if we decide to:

  • refuse a licence;
  • grant a licence with conditions;
  • revoke a licence
  • vary a licence
  • refuse to vary a licence.

You must appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal, normally within twenty-eight days by completing residential property tribunal form.

To find out more read solve a residential property dispute on GOV.UK

Temporary exemption from licensing

If a landlord or person in control of a property intends to stop operating it as an HMO or reduces the numbers of occupants and can give clear evidence of this, then he or she can apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice. This lasts for a maximum of three months and ensures that a property in the process of being converted from an HMO does not need to licensed. If the situation is not resolved, then a second Temporary Notice can be issued. When this runs out the property must be licensed, become subject to an Interim Management Order, or cease to be an HMO.

Are there any penalties?

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

A tenant living in a property that should have been licensed, but was not, can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal to claim back any rent they have paid during the unlicensed period (up to a limit of twelve months). Councils can also reclaim any housing benefit that has been paid during the time the property was without a licence.

A guide to Housing Tribunals is available on the GOV.UK website.