The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has published a consultation with draft proposals to introduce a second HMO licence for landlords who have HMO properties. The council’s aim is to improve housing standards, act against those who do not provide safe accommodation for their tenants and ensure that the right property licensing is in place.

The council has explained that these proposals have been designed to simplify HMO licence applications and reduce unnecessary paperwork. More about the consultation can be found on the council website.

Under current compulsory licensing rules, Kensington and Chelsea Counci can only licence about 185 properties. 8,244 HMOs exist in this borough and 44% of its housing stock is privately rented. They have also discovered via their own research that 2,400 privately rented properties have serious dangers to tenants’ health and safety, are generally poorly managed and linked with anti-social behaviour.

The consultation seeks views on introducing an extra licence that would add another layer of protection for tenants, identifying licensed and responsible landlords, who will have the correct HMO licensing required.

There are 8,244 HMOs in Kensington and Chelsea, and 44 per cent of the borough’s housing stock is privately rented. According to the council’s research, there are about 2,400 privately rented properties that have the most serious hazards. Many are “poorly managed” and are associated with antisocial behaviour.

The Mandatory HMO licence cost in Kensington & Chelsea is £1248.13 + £12.60 per habitable room.

Director of streets and technical services Mahmood Siddiqi stated: “Everyone deserves a safe place to live and most landlords in our borough are fair and responsible. This proposed licensing scheme would boost housing standards and give us more information so we can enforce against the few landlords who persistently provide poorly managed housing to their tenants.

“It could be good news for tenants and good news for compliant landlords, who would be able to operate in a fairer market.”

The consultation began on March 29th and runs for twelve weeks until 20th June 2021. It is open to everyone.

How can I check my property compliance?

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What is a HMO?

To determine what is an HMO we need to start with what ‘HMO’ stands for ie. House in Multiple Occupancy or House of Multiple Occupation. The standard definition of a section 254 HMO is: 3 or more tenants, more than 1 household and shared facilities.

For Section 257 HMOs, the standard definition of a section 257 HMO refers to buildings that: have been converted into self-contained flats; the conversion did not comply with the relevant Building Regulations in force at that time and still does not comply; and less than two-thirds of the flats are owner-occupied.

What is Property Licensing?

Property licensing is the Local Authority’s process of improving living standards in rental accommodation and proving that landlords are ‘fit and proper’ persons to operate these properties. The type of licence a property requires varies depending on a number of different factors, including the number of tenants and the council your property is located in.

Why is Property Licensing important?

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. 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.

For more information about property licensing, download our guide.

Work in the property business?

Do you work as a letting agent, mortgage consultants, investors or property/building manager? Then take a look at our sister company Yuno, who is ready to help you with any changes you must make.

For more information please contact HMO Services on 020 3848 2200 or email