PROPERTY LICENSING

PROPERTY LICENSING2018-09-13T17:47:58+00:00

PROPERTY LICENSING IN LONDON – WHY YOU NEED A LICENCE

Property licensing is the Local Authority’s process of improving living standards and fire safety in rental accommodation.

When determining whether you need a property licence, it is important that you are aware of both the national and local authority regulations. The licensing rules are not consistent across every London borough, with each individual borough creating its own set of licensing rules. This creates a lot of confusion and make it extremely difficult for agents and landlords to know whether their property requires a licence or not and a professional licensing company should be instructed to guide you through the process. In short, the type of licence required will depend on the property itself, how it is tenanted and the borough that it is located in.

The most recognised type of licence is an HMO licence, however this has a much confused reputation. The stereotype for an HMO consists of overcrowded accommodation with terrible living conditions and sparse facilities. Although local authorities are aiming at tackling this issue through licensing, the definition of an HMO is any property that is let to 3 or more tenants, forming 2 or more households and sharing facilities. Thus in London there are licensing schemes that apply to smaller HMOs of 3+ sharers and seek to ensure a standard quality of life in all let properties as well as larger HMOs.

Each council’s licensing requirements are applied to properties on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the size of the property and the number of tenants and type of tenancy. For example the fire safety regulations are stricter for a 5 tenant bedsit HMO than for a family home. The level of fire safety and health and safety required in a property is supported by case studies which have illustrated the respective risk factor in each type of residential property. The guidance and enforcement comes from the HMO Management Regulations 2006 or RRO (The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) and the Housing Act 2004 under HHSRS.

London HMO Property Services

MANDATORY HMO LICENSING

This is a nationwide scheme which applies to properties which contain 5+ sharers over 3 storeys. However in October 2018 the national Mandatory Licensing Scheme is changing and will include most properties with 5+ unrelated tenants will need a licence, regardless of the number of storeys.

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HMO Services

ADDITIONAL HMO LICENSING

This type of licensing scheme is borough specific and typically applies to all HMOs that do not fall under mandatory licensing – 3 or 4 unrelated tenants sharing facilities. However some boroughs have their own specific criteria.

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London HMO services

SELECTIVE HMO LICENCING

This is another borough specific licensing scheme which applies to any property that is located on one of the streets/areas selected by the local authority and is not an HMO. This includes properties let to families and 1-2 tenants.

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HMO London

s257 LICENCING

This is an extension of the additional HMO licensing scheme and applies to buildings converted in to self-contained flats that meet a certain criteria outlined by the local authority.

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