Houses in multiple occupancy - licensing

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

Additional licensing: which is a discretionary scheme that local authorities can apply to other 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

In April 2006, the Government introduced compulsory licensing of larger, higher-risk Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) as part of the Housing Act 2004. A mandatory HMO will have the following:

  • three or more floors
  • five or more occupants
  • two or more households
  • shared amenities such as a bathroom, kitchen or toilet

If your property has all of these features, then it will need to be licensed.

Normally houses converted entirely into self-contained flats will not be subject to mandatory licensing, unless a facility such as bathroom or toilet is located outside of the flat.

Additional licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation

From 1st March 2014, the Council will be operating an Additional Licensing scheme for smaller HMOs of 2 or more storeys in height and occupied by three or more occupiers sharing facilities.

The Additional Licensing scheme will only operate in parts of the Castle, North Bay and Ramshill wards in Scarborough.

A map showing the area of designation of additional licensing can be viewed using the link below.

The Additional Licensing scheme comes into effect on 1st March 2014 and will last for a period of 5 years up until 28th February 2019.

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.

All application forms should be returned to the following address:

Private Sector Housing: F.A.O. Sarah Dargue: HMO Licensing Officer
Scarborough Borough Council
Town Hall
St Nicholas Street
YO11 2HG

If you require any assistance in completing the form then please contact Sarah Dargue, HMO Licensing Officer on 01723 383683.

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.