The choice of whether or not to introduce a borough specific licensing scheme lies with your local authority as granted under Part II of the Housing Act 2004. This includes both Additional HMO licensing, and Selective licensing which occurs only in particular areas or streets within your borough. Your council is likely to introduce a scheme if it feels that a significant proportion of the properties in your borough are not being managed effectively, and are thus causing issues for the tenants and/or neighbours.
Additional HMO licensing was introduced to cover HMOs which do not meet all the criteria for the national Mandatory HMO Licensing Scheme. If your property is an HMO with 3-4 sharers, and falls within a borough which has introduced this scheme it will most likely require this licence, though some councils have further stipulation. If you have 5+ sharers, you will most likely need a Mandatory HMO licence post 1st October as detailed our Mandatory licensing page.
As mentioned above, not all boroughs have introduced Additional HMO licensing schemes but they are currently operating in over a third of London boroughs. The first step is therefore to check whether your local council has introduced the scheme. You can either ask check via your local council website or simply ask us!
One of the ongoing complications in property licensing is the fact that each council can implement a licensing scheme in a different way. For example, in some boroughs (such as Hammersmith and Fulham) all HMOs with 3-4 sharers will require an Additional HMO Licence, unless they are exempt. However in Hounslow, you will only require a licence in particular HMOs which contain 2 or more storeys and 4 or more sharers.
Our team is joining other property professionals in trying to unify the regulations across all local authorities to make the process simpler and easier to implement. In the meantime however, get in contact and we can help you navigate through the complex property licensing process. Find out more about our services here.
We offer a comprehensive service to help landlords and agents through the licensing process, so the easiest option is to get in touch. However, if you choose to manage the process independently it is possible to navigate the process yourself, though it can be very time consuming. The process is important to do correctly and you should familiarise yourself with all standards and council guidelines before applying.
It is advisable to start by inspecting your property to the correct standards set out by your local council as this will outline any safety issues and local standards you may need to meet and remedy in order to be compliant. It will also highlight any certification you require in order to meet local and national standards. (Find out more about checking your compliance and how you can book them here).
If you are not already familiar with the Housing Act 2004, it gives an in-depth overview of what the standards are for HMOs. Following this it is also a good idea to review your local authorities specification for living standards to ensure you meet requirements which fall outside fire safety. For example, Hammersmith and Fulham council provide FAQs and other resources on their website. This includes minimum room sizes, refuse provision, adequate facilities per person, lighting, security, number of tenants and more. (Find out more about fire and living standards requirements for HMOs here)
The Housing Act also requires you to notify various ‘relevant persons’ that you are applying for a property licence. These persons must be informed of your application and you will be expected to supply their contact details to your local authority. Typically these are freeholders, leaseholders, landlords, mortgage providers, managing agents or anyone else involved in the property.
The information gathered during both of these exercises can therefore be used to carefully fill in the application forms provided by your local authority. Once you have paid the council’s processing fee you should be able to submit your application and await response.
We can manage the entire process on your behalf. Simply request a call back and one of our specialist consultant will go through our process with you.