Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation
Which HMO’s need to be licensed?
A house of multiple occupation requires a licence by law when:
- it is three or more storeys high AND
- have five or more people in more than one household AND
- share amenities such as bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities.
What is classed as a household?
The Housing Act 2004 defines the following as ‘households’:
- Members of the same family living together including:
- Couples married to each other or living together as husband and wife (or in an equivalent relationship in the case of persons of the same sex)
- Relatives living together, including parents, grandparents, children (and step-children), grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces or cousins
- (Half-relatives will be treated as full relatives. A foster child living with his foster parent is treated as living in the same household as his foster parent).
- Any domestic staff are also included in the household if they are living rent-free in accommodation provided by the person for whom they are working.
What is classed as a storey?
- Basements and attics should be included when counting the number of storeys in the building if they are occupied or have been converted for use in connection with the occupation of the HMO. If they are just used for business then they need not be included.
- If you are a resident landlord and occupy one floor, you must include this in your calculations as a storey
- Any business occupation on a floor must be included. For example, a ground floor shop with two storeys of flats above.
What Does The Licence Cover?
The licence will specify the maximum number of people who may live in the HMO. It will also include conditions which must be met which will apply to all licences. For example:
- A valid current gas safety certificate, which is renewed annually, must be provided.
- All electrical appliances and furniture are kept in a safe condition.
- All smoke alarms are correctly positioned and installed.
- Each occupier must have a written statement of the terms on which they occupy the property, for example, a tenancy agreement.
Further conditions may apply such as:
- Restrictions or prohibitions on the use of parts of the HMO by occupants.
- A requirement that the condition of the property, its contents, such as furniture and all facilities and amenities, bathroom and toilets for example, are in good working order.
- A requirement for specified works or repairs to be carried out within a particular timeframe.
The Government has announced several changes to HMO legislation which will affect landlords in Hyndburn.
Changes to Licensability
Under current legislation, HMOs only require a licence if they comprise three or more storeys and five or more persons. The Government has announced that on 1 October 2018, the “three or more storeys criterion” will be removed. This means that from that date, any HMO with five or more tenants will require a licence.
If you own such a property, you must submit a complete licence application before 1 October 2018. A landlord who fails to apply for a licence by 1 October 2018 will be committing a criminal offence.
Changes to Licence Conditions
The Government is proposing new mandatory licence conditions, which are expected to come into force later in the year. We will be required to add these new items to our existing licence conditions for any licence which is granted after the legislation comes into force.
The Government is proposing the following minimum bedroom sizes:
- 6.51m2 for one person aged ten or older
- 10.22m2 for two persons aged ten or older
- 4.64m2 for one person younger than ten.
Please bear in mind that the measurement of these rooms cannot include areas where the ceiling is below 1.5 metres in height.
This condition will require landlords to provide adequate refuse disposal facilities for their tenants, and to comply with specific schemes provided by the local authority for the storage and disposal of household waste.