Mandatory HMO licensing
A mandatory licence applies to all houses in multiple occupation (HMO) with three or more storeys and occupied by five or more people living in two or more households. This is a national standard and we have no discretion on licensing these HMOs.
To operate a HMO of this type the manager or other relevant person (landlord, owner, etc.) must apply for a HMO licence and pay the fee. The current fee is £750 per property.
When we are satisfied that the licence holder and manager are fit and proper persons to hold a licence, and that the house is reasonably suitable for use by a given number of people, we must issue a licence. Tacit consent will apply in this instance, and once we accept an application, the house can be occupied as a HMO until such time as the licence is either issued or refused, but we may place conditions on the interim occupation.
We aim to either issue or refuse a licence, within 8 weeks of acknowledging receipt. Following acknowledgement of your application, you will be contacted by the Enforcement Officer dealing with your application to make an appointment to inspect the property.
HMO licensing offences
It is an offence to operate or manage a HMO which should be licensed without a licence, if convicted the fine is unlimited. This could also mean that the person convicted is considered not to be a fit and proper person to hold a licence, which means that they would be unable to hold a licence for a HMO anywhere in England, nor could they be a manager.
It is also possible for a rent repayment order to be made against the convicted person which would require the repayment of all rents received from people living in the property during the period it was being used as an unlicensed HMO, to a maximum of 12 months. These orders could apply to any housing benefit payments made by the local authority as well as any amount paid by the tenants.
We are required to maintain a public register (updated monthly) of all licensed HMOs.
HMO licensing appeals
If we refuse to issue a licence we must give the reasons for this. You have a right to appeal that decision to the Residential Property Tribunal within 28 days of the decision being made.
Your licence will contain a set of mandatory licence conditions which are required by the Housing Act 2004. It may also contain conditions imposed by us. These may be permanent conditions or may relate to works which are required to be done within a specified period of time. You have a right to appeal these imposed conditions to the Residential Property Tribunal.
The National Landlords Association help landlords by providing advice and support as well as representing members at a national and local level.