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Mandatory HMO licensing

Why licence houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

Larger HMOs such as bedsits and shared houses often have poorer physical and management standards than other privately rented properties. The people who live in HMOs are amongst the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society. As HMOs are the only housing option for many people, the government recognises that proper regulation of HMOs is vital.

The intention behind licensing HMOs is to make sure that:

  • landlords of HMOs are fit and proper people, or employ managers who are;
  • each HMO is suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence;
  • the standard of management of the HMO is adequate
  • identification and targeting of high risk HMOs for improvement.

Where landlords refuse to meet these criteria the Council can intervene and manage the property so that:

  • vulnerable tenants can be protected;
  • HMOs are not overcrowded;
  • Councils can identify and support landlords, especially with regeneration and talking antisocial behaviour.

Do all HMOs have to have a licence?

No. Under the Housing Act 2004 there are three types of licensing, but only Mandatory HMO licensing applies within Eden district. From 1 October 2018, mandatory licensing will no longer be limited to certain HMOs that are three or more storeys high, but will also include buildings with one or two storeys that meet the following criteria:

  • have five or more people in more than one household, and
  • share amenities such as bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities.

How does HMO licensing work?

Anyone who owns or manages an HMO that must have a licence, has to apply to us for that licence. We must give a licence if we are satisfied that:

  • the HMO is reasonably suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence;
  • the proposed licence holder is a fit and proper person;
  • the proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence;
  • the proposed manager, if there is one is a fit and proper person;
  • the proposed management arrangements are satisfactory;
  • the person involved in the management of the HMO is competent;
  • the financial structures for the management are suitable.

What does a 'fit proper person' mean?

We will carry out checks to make sure that the person applying for the licence is a fit and proper person. In deciding whether someone is fit and proper the Council we must take into account:

  • 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 or 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, or an approved landlords association.

HMO licence covers

The licence will specify the maximum number of people who may live in the HMO. It will also include the following conditions, which apply to every licence:

  • a valid current gas safety certificate, which is renewed annually, must be provided;
  • proof that all electrical appliances and furniture are kept in a safe condition;
  • proof that all smoke alarms are correctly positioned and installed;
  • each occupier must have a written statement of the terms on which they occupy the property, for example, a tenancy agreement.
  • Bedrooms within the property meet minimum sizes
  • The waste storage and disposal meet our requirements.

Councils may also apply the following conditions:

  • restrictions or prohibitions on the use of parts of the HMO by occupants.
  • a requirement that the condition of the property, its contents, such as furniture and all facilities and amenities, bathroom and toilets for example, are in good working order;
  • a requirement that the condition of the property, its contents, such as furniture and all facilities and amenities, bathroom and toilets for example, are in good working order;
  • a requirement for specified works or repairs to be carried out within a particular time frame;
  • a requirement that the responsible person attends an approved training course.

A licence will normally last for a maximum of five years, although it can be for a shorter period.

HMO licence cost

Landlords will have to pay a fee to cover the administration costs of the licence procedure. For 2018-2019, the fee has been set at £378 for a 5 bed property, £25 per room thereafter.

Apply or renew a HMO licence

To apply for or renew and existing HMO licence contact the Housing Team using the details below: