Landlords may need a licence to let a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) - a rented property with shared facilities.
Does an HMO need a licence?
An HMO must be licenced if it is occupied by five or more people who form more than one household.
Making the application
A number of certificates will need to accompany the application form:-
- Landlord's Gas Safety Certificate
- Design, Installation and Commissioning Certificates for the L2 Fire alarm system and/or test certificate
- Emergency Lighting Test Certificate
- Service contract for alarm and fire systems
- Periodic test certificate for the electrical installation
- Portable appliance test certificates (if applicable)
- Building Regulations completion certificate (if applicable)
- Current tenancy agreements
A licence will normally last for five years.
Granting an HMO Licence
We will assess the applications and certificates and consider:-
- the suitability of the HMO for the number of tenants
- the suitability of room sizes (external link)
- kitchen, bathroom and toilets facilities
- whether the proposed licence holder is a fit and proper person
- what the management arrangements are.
Licence conditions for an HMO
The licence will have conditions attached which will relate to:-
- producing an annual gas safety certificate,
- making sure all electrical equipment and furniture that you supply is safe,
- installing smoke alarms and making sure they work properly – see 'A Guide to Fire and Security Protection in Multi-Occupied Residential Properties' (external link),
- giving tenants a copy of the statement of terms for living in the HMO.
Additional conditions may relate to:-
- standard of facilities,
- management of the HMO,
- how you deal with tenant behaviour.
All these conditions are to make sure you maintain your HMO to a good standard and manage it well. If you disagree with any conditions that have been set, you can appeal to a Residential Property Tribunal.
When changes happen to an HMO
As a landlord, you should be aware that the circumstances at your HMO might change in any of the following ways:-
- the house is no longer in multiple occupation
- your tenant has allowed more people to live there than the HMO licence allows
- the licence holder is no longer suitable - fit and proper - to hold a licence
- the management is no longer suitable to manage an HMO
- you want to change the HMO licence holder
- the HMO is no longer suitable to be considered an HMO
- you want to change the HMO to occupation by a single household
- you want to sell the property.
Some of these changes may be the result of the Council's decisions. Others may happen because of decisions taken by you or your tenants.
If you plan to make changes then you must tell the Council. It may need to change the conditions of your licence, cancel it, or give you a different type of licence.
Licence fees 2019/20
|Licence application fee (for up to five bedrooms)||£598.50|
|Licence application fee for a member of the North Staffordshire Landlord Accreditation Scheme.||£498.50|
|Additional fee for each extra bedroom||£7.80|
|Renewal of existing licence (for up to five bedrooms)||£442.50|
|Renewal of existing licence fee for a member of the North Staffordshire Landlord Accreditation Scheme||£342.50|
|Additional fee for each extra bedroom||£7.80|
|Please note that if a licence applicant doesn't maintain their accreditation status but re-joins at the point of a licence renewal application, the discount will not apply.|
Penalties for not having a licence
If a HMO is of a description which should be licensed but is not, it will be an offence to allow it to be occupied. If the appropriate person (owner, agent) is convicted of operating a HMO without a licence, they can be prosecuted and the Council can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal to have any housing benefit repaid and occupiers can apply to have rent repaid.
When an HMO licence is refused
If the licence is refused you can appeal to a Residential Property Tribunal.
If an application is refused, the Council will make an interim management order which will enable it to take over management of the HMO. They can do so for a maximum of 12 months.
If, at the end of the 12 months, a licence still can't be granted, the Council must make a final management order. The final order puts in place long-term management for the HMO, which can last a maximum of five years. You can appeal against the making of an interim or a final management order through a Residential Property Tribunal.
Visit the Communities and Local Government website for more detailed information or contact the housing services team on 01782 717717.
Last updated 30 April 2019