MANDATORY HMO LICENSING

MANDATORY HMO LICENSING2018-09-04T14:13:26+00:00

MANDATORY HMO LICENSING

Mandatory HMO licensing became law in 2006 following a fatal flat fire in Glasgow. Two students became trapped in their basement flat that had a disconnected smoke alarm, iron bars on the window and a blocked fire exit.

Research at the time showed that you were 16 times more likely to die in a fire in a 3 storey (or more) HMO than in a family home, so properties of 3 or more storeys were the first to require licensing.

As of the 1st of October 2018 this licensing scheme is being extended, and the rules are set to change somewhat to include properties with 5 or more tenants, of more than 1 household, sharing facilities regardless of the number of storeys.

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WHO NEEDS A MANDATORY HMO LICENCE?

The first thing to know is that this is a nationwide law rather than council specific. Therefore any UK landlord with a property tenanted with 5 or more sharers, over 3 or more storeys will require this licence. Often our clients say that they couldn’t find details of a licensing scheme in their local borough, which is because they were looking for local legislation rather than for national HMO licensing guidelines.

You will require this licence if you let a House in Multiple Occupation that meets the following criteria:

  • You let an HMO which is occupied by five tenants or more, forming more than one household. An example would be a typical shared house of young professionals or students.
  • The property includes facilities which are shared by the occupants. Usually in HMOs tenants share bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Currently the property must have 3 or more storeys in order to meet the criteria for Mandatory HMO Licensing. However it is important to note that following an extension of the licensing scheme, from 1st October 2018 the legislation will include properties with any number of storeys.

EXEMPTION TO MANDATORY LICENCING

  • If your flat is in a purpose built block that contains three or more self-contained flats and is an HMO of 5 or more tenants it is exempt from Mandatory licensing.
  • If your flat is in a purpose built block that contains 2 self-contained flats and is an HMO of 5 or more tenants it will require Mandatory licensing licensing.
  • That said, the flats may still need licensing if the council have an additional or selective licensing scheme running.

CHANGES TO MANDATORY HMO LICENSING

The new licensing regulations are set to come into play in October 2018 and applications must be in by the 1st October, there is no grace period..

The first key difference to the current legislation will be that regardless of the number of storeys, 5+ bed HMOs will require this licence. It is therefore advisable that any landlords with properties that are 1-2 storeys with 5+ tenants start getting organised to ensure their property is compliant and they can avoid any fines or penalties.

Bins, recycling and storage:

Some local authorities in particular have ongoing issues with refuse disposal and rubbish outside shared houses and HMOs. The government is therefore set to introduce a mandatory condition on all HMO licences that requires landlords to provide adequate bin facilities for their properties.

Minimum room sizes:

The government is keen to crack down on tiny bedrooms in rental properties. A minimum room size for single occupancy and double occupancy has therefore been agreed, and any rooms which do not comply must change their usage. The national guidance is 4.64m2 for a bedroom occupied by a child under 10 years old, 6.51m2 for a bedroom occupied by a person over 10 years old and 10.22m2 for a bedroom occupied by two people over 10 years old, however some London councils have their their own larger minimum room sizes. Typically, if a room is found to be too small the local authority ask landlords not to renew their tenancy for that particular room.

HOW TO APPLY FOR A MANDATORY HMO LICENCE

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 our specialist consultants will go through our process with you.

REQUEST A CALL BACK

Get in touch to speak with our specialists consultants. We can give you bespoke and detailed advice to navigate the process of ensuring you are complaint.

GET IN TOUCH
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