If you rent a property, but you’re not sure if you need an HMO licence, then read on.

Importantly, failure to apply for a licence can lead to a fine. It is a criminal offence to let a property that is required to be licensed without applying for an HMO licence. 

Essentially, the HMO licence is needed to ensure that the property:

  • is safe for tenants to live in
  • is in good condition
  • has an adequate number of smoke detectors
  • has appropriate fire exits
  • has enough sinks, cookers, baths and toilets for the number of tenants
  • is well managed

HMO Licensing Requirements 

Each council or borough may have different requirements for HMO property licensing; however, in general these will include the following:

  • The HMO being reasonably suitable for occupation by the number of people expected
  • Providing a fixed and affordable heating system to all lets 
  • Providing the minimum number of bathrooms, kitchen and laundry facilities per number of tenants
  • Providing the minimum kitchen size and facilities (including cooker, sink, fridge, worktop space, food storage cupboard) per number of tenants
  • Providing the minimum size of rooms
  • Providing the required communal areas, for example dining area, living area, outdoor area and ensuring they are kept clean and in good condition
  • Ensuring that appropriate fire safety measures are in place (including smoke detectors, extinguishers, fire exits) in all lets and communal areas
  • Providing annual gas safety checks
  • Ensuring electrical wiring and appliances have been checked and certified
  • Ensuring the HMO property is not overcrowded
  • Providing appropriate refuse storage and disposal facilities
  • Ensuring that the HMO manager is competent
  • Ensuring that the proposed licence holder is a ‘fit and proper person’

Types of HMO licences

There are three types of HMO licences:

  1. Mandatory licensing – this applies for large HMOs where there are five or more tenants from two or more households
  • Additional licensing – this applies when a council requires smaller sizes of HMOs to be licenced. 
  • Selective licensing – this is provided at the discretion of a council or borough and can affect properties regardless of the size or number of tenants. 

To check if your property needs to be licenced, you can contact the local council. Or speak to us about our HMO Licensing service, which includes applying for the local Council’s property licensing scheme on your behalf.

Next Steps?

If you want to know if your property is required to be licensed call us on +44 (0) 203 286 6468 or email us at HMO@RekaProperty.co.uk

Douglas Fokuo

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