19 October 2018

Mandatory Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation

The rules for mandatory licensing of HMO's in England has been extended from 1st October 2018.

HMO's are Houses in Multiple Occupation - so housing such as student lets that have shared facilities, but not blocks of apartments.

Previously the criteria for requirement of a HMO Licence was:-

  • The property is rented to five or more people who form more than one household; and

  • The property is at least three storeys high; and

  • Tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.

From 1st October however the scope has been extended to include HMOs that are below three storeys if they are occupied by five persons in two or more separate households.

Landlords of HMOs falling within this new scope will immediately need to apply for a HMO Licence valid from the 1st October. Failure to apply for a HMO Licence where one is required is a criminal offence.

This new scope does not affect whether or not a HMO may require planning permission.

The Local Authorities should have been promoting this change in mandatory licensing, but it may be the case that we have Clients who are Landlords of HMOs which now fall into the scope of mandatory licensing, and they are unaware that they need to apply for a HMO Licence.

It is estimated that an additional 177,000 HMOs (on top of the existing 60,000) are now subject to the mandatory licensing requirements - it is possible that we act for the Landlords of at least some of the 177,000!

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