Changes to licence requirements for rental properties, are you ready?

New legal requirements for mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are coming into force this year.

By October 1, 2018 landlords of HMOs with five or more occupants will need to have applied for a licence from the district council. 

The new legal requirements mean that a mandatory licence is required for any house occupied by five or more people from more than one household where they share facilities such as a toilet, bathroom or kitchen.  This is regardless of the number of floors in the building.

A licence will also be required for the following where there are five or more occupants:

  • a converted building or flat with non self-contained accommodation such as bedsits including those above shops. 
  • a shared purpose built flat where the block comprises up to two flats and one or both are occupied as an HMO.

Where HMOs require a licence, minimum bedroom sizes will also apply, with single occupancy bedrooms needing to be at least 6.51sp.m and double occupancy bedrooms at least 10.22sq.m. Any bedrooms below these sizes will be disregarded. 

HMOs must also have adequate refuse provision as well as appropriate fire precautions and satisfactory management arrangements. 

Frances Hale, Senior Environmental Health Officer in the Private Sector Housing team at Mendip District Council, said: "It is really important that landlords of HMOs who fit in the criteria contact us to as soon as possible to make an application for a licence. All applications need to be made before October, 1 as after this date landlords may be breaking the law.  Landlords who are unsure whether they need a licence or not, should contact the Private Sector Housing team at Mendip who are ready to help landlords and answer questions they may have on the new legislation."

Landlords are reminded that failure to apply for a licence is a criminal offence which could result in a conviction or financial penalty of up to £30,000. 

For more information on HMO licensing requirements please visit HMO Licensing or contact the Private Sector Housing Team at Mendip District Council on 0300 303 8588 or email