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Applying for a HMO Licence

A licence is valid for a maximum of 5 years, which must be renewed before the expiry date. Each and every separate lettings property requires its own licence application, and must be submitted in advance to the local council. A fee is charged for the licence application process, which usually takes between 6-8 weeks.

Conditions for granting a licence

All licensed HMOs will be subject to a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) risk assessment to satisfy the local authority that the property meets the required standards for occupation. A landlord or agent will also be checked for any criminal record, breach of laws or code of practice.

Conditions for granting a licence involve a number of essential areas of health, safety and hygiene which satisfy the Regulations in the management practice of a HMO property, as follows:

  • Each letting room to be maintained, in good order and clean at the start of tenancy.
  • All windows and ventilation to be kept in good repair.
  • Fire escapes and detection systems in good order and repair.
  • Protection from injury which may be caused by falls from balconies and /or windows, etc.
  • Water supply and drainage to be maintained and protected.
  • Gas and electricity supplies to be maintained.
  • Annual Gas safety checks with certificates to be available for inspection.
  • Electrical tests for appliances and wiring every 5 years.
  • All outbuildings, walls and outside spaces to be repaired, kept clean and not be a danger. Includes garden to also be safe and tidy.
  • Sufficient waste disposal bins to be provided for refuse storage prior to collection.

The Fire Safety Order 2005 – which applies to all residential property with ’common areas’, including HMOs, requires a fire risk assessment to all common areas and internal fire escape routes, particularly shared staircases, the hallways, lobbies and landings.  The assessment must be carried out by a ‘responsible person’, i.e. the management company.

Once a licence is granted, the document must be clearly displayed within the communal areas along with the name, address and telephone number of the property manager of the premises. A copy of the current gas safety certificate must also be on display.

Three types of HMO Licensing

Under the Housing Act, 2004, the three types of HMO Licensing are:

Additional Licensing

At the discretion of each individual borough Council.

Compulsory Licensing

– Three storeys or more* – including cellars, attics, basements, mezzanine floors and loft conversions.
– Households with five or more persons.
– Communal areas, such as a toilet, bathroom and kitchen.

*The minimum number of storeys changes with the introduction of The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Order 2018

Selective Licensing

At the discretion of each individual borough Council.

Unsure which license you need to comply with Council Regulations?

Call us today and speak to one of our dedicated HMO experts on 020 8550 2221

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