Important changes to the law on licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation

The Government has announced that mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) will be extended. If you rent out a property to five or more tenants in two or more households, and don’t already have a HMO Licence, you must apply for one before 1st October 2018.

The new legislation has removed the requirement for a property to have three or more storeys.

Pre-register your details

To assist with the licensing process we are asking property owners and their agents to pre-register their details and the details of properties owned, let and managed by them which are likely to require a licence to comply with the new requirements. To pre-register your name and contact details and the property address please use any of the following:

Pre-register your details online

Tel: 0151 691 8150
Email: [email protected]

We are currently putting systems in place to enable formal applications and payments to be made online. We anticipate that the online application system will be available from September 2018.

If you currently have a mandatory HMO licence that is due for renewal before 1 October 2018 you should continue to use the renewal form that was sent to you and return it as normal.

When is a HMO licence needed?

Currently HMO licences are required for properties that have three or more storeys meeting the following criteria:

  • occupied by five or more unrelated people forming two or more households and it is their main and only place of residence; and
  • the people living there share basic amenities - for example, a kitchen or bathroom

A storey may include an attic or a basement, regardless of how it is currently used.

A household can be a single person or certain members of the same family who live together.

It is a criminal offence for a person to have control of a licensable HMO and not apply for a licence and the Council can prosecute or impose a Civil Penalty of up to £30,000.

Current fees

  • initial fee - £250.00 per annum for HMO with up to five units of accommodation
  • additional fee - £30.00 for each additional unit, up to a maximum of £600 per annum

A £50 discount on the fee is given to license holders who already have their property accredited with the council’s Landlord Accreditation Scheme.

New fees will be confirmed here shortly.

Processing and timescales

Timescales for processing applications will vary depending on the complexity of the individual HMO. Details of likely timescales will be given once the application and any supporting documents have been submitted.

Your application is not automatically approved once you submit it as the information will need to be validated prior to approval.

Certain conditions will be attached to any licence granted. If you do not comply with the conditions the council can pursue legal action, including prosecution.

Failed applications

You can appeal to the First-tier Property Tribunal within 28 days regarding a failed application, conditions attached to a licence or any decision to vary or revoke a licence.

Where a licensable HMO is incapable of being licensed or has had its licence revoked, the council is under a duty to serve a Management Order. This effectively transfers the management of the HMO to a managing agent, appointed by the council.

The costs of improving the property and the management and maintenance fees can be recovered from the rental stream, with any surplus being paid to the landlord.

The costs of improving the property and the management and maintenance fees can be recovered from the rental stream, with any surplus being paid to the landlord.

Licensed properties and licence holders

To search the above list for a property or licence holder, type CTRL+F and type in the text you are looking for.