There are three forms of licensing that can be applied to housing as follows:
Mandatory licensing: which is a statutory requirement for certain types of HMO
Selective licensing: which is a discretionary licensing scheme that Local Authorities can apply to all privately rented properties within a designated area.
Mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation
The Government has recently brought in new legislation to extend mandatory HMO licensing to certain properties and to introduce new HMO licensing conditions, which will take effect from 1st October 2018.
The new legislation means that the following types of property will require a mandatory HMO Licence.
House of Multiple Occupation
- it is a building in which two or more families / individuals share basic amenities
- it is a converted building which contains one or more units of accommodation that are not self-contained. A self-contained unit is one which has inside it a kitchen (or cooking area), bathroom or toilet for the exclusive use of the household living in the unit. The unit is not self-contained if the occupiers need to leave the unit to access any of these amenities. (For example the toilet, bathroom or any bedroom is located on a landing outside the main unit front entrance door)
- it has five or more people living there and the five or more people make up more than 2 or more households (family units).
Flat of Multiple Occupation
it is a flat in which two or more families / individuals share basic amenities
- it has five or more people living there and the five or more people make up more than one household (family unit).
NOTE: Purpose built blocks of flats of three or more self-contained flats are exempt if they meet all three of the below requirements
- The flat is within a purpose built building
- The flat is within a block of flats
- There are more than 3 flats in the purpose built block
Any other flat with 5 or more people requires a mandatory licence.
Landlords of HMOs that fall under the new definitions will need to apply for a licence by 1st October 2018 or risk prosecution.
Any property which currently has a Selective Licence and will fall into the new mandatory licensing criteria will need to become a mandatory HMO on expiry of their current Selective Licence in 2022.
New Mandatory HMO licensing conditions
There are 2 new HMO licensing conditions which will come into effect from 1st October 2018. These are:
Minimum sleeping room sizes, which will be:
- 6.51 sqm for one person over 10 year of age
- 10.22 sqm for two persons over 10 years of age
- 4.64 sqm for one child under 10 years of age
For Selective Licensing properties this condition will only apply once the property has become a mandatory HMO on expiry of their current Selective Licence in 2022.
Waste disposal: All new or renewed HMO licences issued after 1st October 2018 will need to comply with the Council’s storage and waste disposal scheme (further information is to follow on the Council’s scheme).
You can read about recent Government guidance on the changes.
The revised conditions can be found at the link at the bottom of this page.
Re-licensing a Houses in Multiple Occupation
A HMO license lasts for five years. If your property is still operating as a HMO at the end of the five year period, then you will need to apply to have your property re-licensed.
How to apply
You will need to provide the following with your application:
- The licence fee payment. The application form will automatically calculate your licence fee. Details of the fees can be found via the weblink on this page.
- A copy of your Gas Safety Certificate, should you have a gas supply to your property.
- A copy of your Electrical Condition Report
- A copy of your Annual Fire Detection Test Certificate
- A copy of your Annual Fire Risk Assessment
- A copy of the Floor Plan of the property
Should you not have internet access then please call into Customer First at the Town Hall (address at top of the page) and speak to one of our Customer First advisors, who will be able to assist you.
Refusals of licence applications
We can refuse a licence application if we decide you are not a fit and proper person or if the property does not meet the licensing conditions.Also if there is no reasonable prospect of an alternative licence holder being appointed, or of the property being brought up to the required standards within an acceptable time period.
Appealing against a licence refusal
You may appeal if the council decides 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 28 days.
Temporary Exemption Notice
If you intend to stop the property operating as a HMO, or reduce the number of occupants, and you can give clear evidence of this, then you can apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice.
Penalties for non-compliance
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 is 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 £5000 per offence.