For many years, the question of whether a rental property is in multiple occupation ( House in Multiple Occupation ) has been the subject of varying interpretation across the country and the courts. It has resulted in widespread confusion for landlords and an inconsistent application of housing standards.
The Housing Act 2004 and associated regulations have sought to clarify the situation with a new definition of which properties will be considered to be in ‘multiple occupation’.
From now on if a landlord lets a property which is one of the following types, it is classified as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO):
Not all House in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) as defined about will need a licence. However, from 6th April 2006 you will need to apply for a one if it falls within the scope of one of the following schemes:
All House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) comprising three or more storeys which have five or more occupants (forming two or more households) will require a licence. The only exception relates to buildings converted into fully self contained flats. When counting the storeys of a building, a landlord must include loft conversions and basements with a ‘habitable use’ (including basements used as an integral part of the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) such as utility rooms).
For further information on Mandatory Licensing go to the Government website
More information about the other Licensing schemes can be obtained from your local authority.
Discretionary ‘Additional’ Licensing is where a local authority can choose to make an additional licensing scheme that may apply to House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) which do not fall within the mandatory licensing criteria detailed above.
Additional licensing schemes may apply to such categories of House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) as the local authority considers appropriate, but before making such a scheme it must identify specific antisocial behaviour or management problems with those House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). Such schemes require the consent of the Government and may be in force for a maximum period of five years.
Transitional Licensing Schemes (TLS) are transitional licensing schemes that can be adopted by local authorities that already have House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Registration Control Schemes in effect. Under a TL, House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Registration Schemes will be allowed to continue for a further 3 years.
Discretionary ‘Selective’ Licensing is where a local authority can choose to licence all privately rented property (whether House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) or not) in areas where specific problems have been identified, such as areas of low demand and/ or antisocial behaviour.
The person responsible for applying for a licence is the person having control of, or the person managing the property i.e. the landlord who lets the property and collects the rent.
Landlords apply to their Local Authority to obtain a licence. A landlord submits an application form and then pays an application fee. It then may be necessary for the rental property to be inspected before the HMO licence is issued. In granting the Licence both the suitability of the applicant and the configuration and condition of the rental property will be considered.
As part of the inspection aspects such as: the properties layout, room sizes, accommodation standards and fire safety will all be assessed against the Local Authorities House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) standards. It may be as a result of the assessment that the inspector will request changes to the HMO property before a licence is issued.
HMO licensing charges are supposed to reflect the costs involved in administering the licensing scheme and these fees can vary widely between local authorities. Recent research (Dec 06) carried out by www.landlordlaw.co.uk indicate that the cost of the licence fee can be as little as £140, as is the case with Cornish Local Authorities, right up to a breathtaking £1100 to licence a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Newcastle.
These licence costs may pale into insignificance compared to the costs of upgrading the property to ensure that it complies with the Local Authoritie's House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) standards. With extensive structural alterations or the installation of fire alarm systems costing thousands, or even tens of thousands in more extreme cases.
It is an offence for a landlord to operate an House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without a licence. Non compliance with any expected licence on a HMO is an offence that carries various penalties and actions, including a maximum fine of £20,000.
FORMS FOR LETTING PROPERTY
FINANCE AND TAX ON RENTAL PROPERTY
RENTAL PROPERTY REGULATIONS
FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS
HMO (HOUSE IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION)
TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEME (TDS)
ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES
COMMUNAL HEATING REGULATIONS
INVESTING IN BTL PROPERTY
A GUIDE FOR NEW LANDLORDS
WHICH PERIOD OF PROPERTY
BUYING OFF PLAN
KNOWING THE RISKS
PROPERTY INVESTMENT CLUBS
MANAGING RENTAL PROPERTY
GIVING NOTICE TO LEAVE
NON - PAYMENT OF RENT
GETTING YOUR MONEY BACK
THE TENANT WONT MOVE OUT
THE TENANT DOES A BUNK
RAISING THE RENT
REDUCING THE RENT
REPAYING THE TENANCY DEPOSIT
FAIR WEAR AND TEAR
MOULD AND CONDENSATION
MAINTENANCE OF A RENTAL PROPERTY
LETTING RENTAL PROPERTY
TEN STEPS TO LETTING
WRITING A LETTING ADVERT
FURNISHING A PROPERTY
LETTING AGENT OR DIY
SELECTING A LETTING AGENT
TENANTS ON BENEFITS
LETTING TO STUDENTS
PREPARING AN INVENTORY
RIGHT TO RENT GUIDANCE
TERMS OF A TENANCY
LENGTH OF A TENANCY
RESPONSIBILITY FOR REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE
TENANCIES IN SCOTLAND
LETTING TO TENANTS WITH PETS
LEGISLATION OF LETTING PROPERTY
TENANCY DEPOSIT DISPUTES
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
HOUSING ACT APPEAL DISPUTES
THE LANDS TRIBUNAL
RIGHTS OF LIGHT APPLICATION
APPEALS FROM LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS (LVT's)
POSSESSION - SECTION 8 NOTICE
POSSESSION - SECTION 21 NOTICE
SECTION 21 TIMETABLE AND PROCESS
GROUNDS FOR POSSESSION
PREPARING FOR A POSSESSION HEARING
HARASSMENT BY LANDLORDS
RENT DISPUTES BETWEEN LANDLORD & TENANT
FAIR RENT (RAC)
MARKET RENT UNDER AST
LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS
MODIFICATION OF RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS