How do I know if my property requires a HMO licence ?
If your property is let to multiple tenants who are not members of the same family then it is likely that the property will be termed a ‘HMO’ and require a House of Multiple Occupancy Licence.
HMO licensing is mandatory for any property that meets the following conditions: It is let to 5 or more people (who are not members of the same family), those tenants share living facilities such as kitchens or bathrooms and the property is at least 3 storeys high. A storey is taken to include basements, attics and any other storey which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation.
There are exceptions to this however and you must check with the council of the area in which the property is situated as to whether a licence is required, even if the property is rented to less than 5 people it may still need a licence in certain circumstances
Why were HMO Licenses introduced and what must a license holder do?
Licences for Houses of Multiple Occupancy were introduced in the Housing Act of 2004 with the aim of regulating the quality of rented accommodation and to ensure that all properties are suitable for the number of occupants in terms of their size and the facilities that they provide i.e number of bathrooms and that they are properly regulated in terms of health and safety.
A landlord or agent managing a HMO is also required to;
- ensure a valid Gas Safety Certificate every year.
- Install and maintain Smoke Alarms.
- Provide safety certificates for all electrical appliances when requested.
-Adhere to any additional conditions that the council may apply to your property in order to ensure a licence i.e improving the standard of the facilities. These will be outlined as specific requirements when the licence is applied for, and may include such things as fire doors, signage etc...
A HMO Licence holder must also be deemed to be a ‘fit and proper’ individual, whether they are a private Landlord or agent. This means that the landlord/agent must have no criminal record or have been found in breach of any landlord codes of conduct.
What else must I be aware of as the landlord of a HMO?
A HMO licence is valid for a maximum 5 years and the license MUST be renewed before it expires.
If a landlord or agent manages multiple HMO Properties they must have a license for each property.
Letting out a HMO without a licence, or not adhering to the conditions of the licence can lead to a landlord being liable for a fine of up to £30,000 and being marked as an unfit landlord. Failure to get a licence if required also has implications on the ability to manage the property correctly, affecting the service of notices etc
The application must be made through the council and the fee is set according to each specific council.
It is very likely that other licenses may also be required in addition to the HMO licence. Please see your local council website for more details
Should you have any doubts regarding the requirements of your property for licencing ludlowthompson are happy to help, or get in touch with your local authority .
24th March 2016
DISCLAIMER: Neither ludlowthompson nor their ‘experts’ take any responsibility for any action or loss incurred by readers of these pages. The reader acts on advice at their own risk. Answers to questions are not exhaustive. Financial advice must always be sought from a professional financial adviser
FREE & INSTANT PROPERTY VALUATION
IN JUST 60 SECONDS