HMO guidance for landlords
Not all HMOs need licensing. However, if your property is occupied by five or more persons forming two or more households, who share facilities such as a kitchen and bathroom, it must be mandatorily licensed by law.
Further information in relation to renting out an HMO can be found on the UK Government website.
Management of HMOs
Under The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006, as the landlord of an HMO you must ensure that:
- contact details are on display in the property, and are available to each household in the HMO
- all means of escape from fire are maintained and kept free from obstruction, all fire precautions are maintained, and steps are taken to protect occupants from injury
- water supply and drainage are maintained
- electric and gas safety checks are carried out as required, and updated certificates are provided to the council
- repairs are made to the property where required (eg communal areas, structure and exterior of the property, water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, heating, personal washing facilities, and any other repairs outlined in the tenancy agreement)
- living accommodation is maintained in the property
- waste storage facilities are provided
In deciding whether the proposed management arrangements for the property are otherwise satisfactory, under the Housing Act 2004, we also take into consideration:
- whether any person proposed to be involved in the management of the house has a sufficient level of competence
- whether any person proposed to be involved in the management of the house is a fit and proper person
- whether any proposed management structures and funding arrangements are suitable
The application process
If your property requires a licence, you can apply here:
You can also renew or make variations to an existing licence:
Applications will not be processed until we have received all the relevant documentation and associated fees. You’ll need to ensure you’ve got copies of the following:
- Basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (for both the proposed Licence holder and the proposed manager – see this page of our website for further information)
- Property plan with room dimensions
- Fire safety risk assessment
- Fire detection system test reports
- Emergency lighting test reports
- Competent electrician inspection report
- Gas safety certificate (if applicable)
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of at least an ‘E’ rating
- Evidence of insurance
You must also prove you and any relevant person associated to you (eg spouse or business partner) is a ‘Fit and Proper’ person under Section 66 of the Housing Act 2004. The licence can be refused if you are not deemed fit and proper.
Fit and proper person test
We must be satisfied the proposed licence holder and manager of the property is a fit and proper person before issuing an HMO licence. A licence may also be revoked where we are no longer satisfied the licence holder or manager is a fit and proper person.
You will not be deemed a fit and proper person if you or your associated relevant person have:
- committed any offence involving fraud, other dishonesty, violence drugs, or any sexual offence that attracts notification requirements
- practised unlawful discrimination on grounds of sex, colour, race, ethnic or national origins or disability
- contravened any provision of the law relating to housing or of landlord and tenant law
- acted otherwise than in accordance with any applicable code of practice approved under Section 233 of the Housing Act 2004
- a banning order under the Housing and Planning Act 2016
Duration of the licence
Each licence is valid for five years, and you will require a separate licence for each HMO you run; once the licence has expired you will need to apply for a renewal. You will also need to keep your licence up-to-date and notify us of any changes with immediate effect.
Transfer of the licence
No, licences are not transferable. A new licence application must be made by the new landlord or most appropriate person.
Licence conditions imposed by us may include but are not restricted to:
- gas and electrical safety
- the provisions of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
- the safety of appliances and furniture
- amenity standards and management practices
- minimum room sizing requirements
- waste disposal requirements
- anti-social behaviour clauses
- maximum number of persons over and/or persons under 10 years who may occupy specified rooms for sleeping accommodation
Refusal of a licence
If your licence application is refused you will be notified. Licences are not granted automatically and we must process and assess your application before it can be granted. In order to be granted a licence we must be satisfied:
- the licence holder is a fit and proper person
- proper management standards are in place
- the HMO is suitable for the number of tenants it has been licenced for
- it meets the minimum criteria for amenities and facilities
Under certain circumstances where these criteria are not met, you may be refused a licence.
Appeal against conditions
If you do not agree with any aspect of our decision, including the conditions imposed on a licence, or any decision to vary or revoke a licence, then please contact us. You may also appeal to the regional First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). Appeals must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.
Offences and penalties
Not obtaining a licence for an HMO which meets the mandatory licensing criteria is an offence, and you may be prosecuted. It is also an offence to allow a property to be occupied by more tenants than are permitted in the licence, this may result in a licence being revoked.
More information about the offences committed by failing to licence an HMO, and the enforcement options as a result of a breach in licence conditions can be found online.
There is a fee for the application process. This fee is split into two parts. The first part is payable when you apply, and the second is payable once your licence has been awarded. If you do not pay the second part of the licence fee your licence may be revoked.
Loans available for landlords
Following an inspection, if your property has failings and you are unable to afford the repairs; there is a loan service available. If you require more information about this service, please contact us and we will provide you with the appropriate contact details.