Mandatory Licence, Additional Licence or Selective Licence: what’s the difference?

There are currently three distinct types of property licences being issued by local authorities in the UK. They differ depending on the size and intended use of the rental property. In brief, mandatory licensing is for houses that operate under the normal HMO defining criteria (3 storeys, five or more tenants from two or more households). Additional and Selective licensing are brought out at the locals council discretion and can affect smaller shared houses than mandatory schemes.

Mandatory Licensing (HMO rental property)

An HMO required to obtain a license if it is three or more storeys and is occupied by five or more unrelated tenants. It is the responsibility of the landlord or property manager to contact their local council to apply for a licence. Along with making certain changes within the house – adding 30 minute fire resistance for example. You will also be responsible for ensuring certain ‘HMO management’ procedures are taken care of, for example, ensuring contact information of the landlord is clearly displayed within the house.

Additional Licensing (HMO rental property)

Before a council can authorise an Additional Licensing Scheme in their area they must submit a detailed report to its members. This report is then scrutinised and deliberated throughout a consultation period. If the additional licensing scheme can be justified then it will be applied throughout the borough. Additional licensing schemes tend to open the scope of HMO defining criteria to include houses with just two storeys or perhaps houses with with three or more sharers.

Selective Licensing (Any rental Property)

Selective property licensing can be applied to all rented accommodation – regardless of meeting HMO criteria. Selective Licensing is dictated by Local Authority and can be narrowed down to specific streets or include entire wards. Your council’s website should have some information as to whether your property falls into an area affected by this scheme.  Selective licensing schemes choose particular streets in areas with known anti-social disturbance orders.