HMO Licensing FAQs
Information about licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation.
Can the Council refuse to issue a licence?
What if I do not apply for a licence?
What if I do not comply with my licensing conditions?
What happens once I have applied for a licence?
What if I make changes the property or want to increase occupancy?
What if my property does not meet all the standards?
Can I apply for an exemption?
Will tacit consent apply?
Can I transfer a licence?
What does a "fit and proper person" mean?
Can I appeal against decisions the Council make?
Yes, we can refuse to issue a licence but in practice this happens rarely because the purpose of licensing is to bring properties and managers into the scheme so they can be regulated and provide safe accommodation.
Before issuing a licence, the Council needs to be satisfied of the following:
- the house is reasonably suitable for occupation by the maximum number of occupants;
- that no banning order is in force against any owner or person with an interest in the property;
- the proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence and is a fit and proper person;
- the proposed manager is the person having control of the house or an agent or employee of that person and is a fit and proper person; and
- the proposed management arrangements are satisfactory.
If the Council is satisfied that the above criteria are being met then we are under a duty to grant the licence.
Operating a licensable property without a licence, is a serious offence and the following sanctions could apply:
- An unlimited fine if convicted in the magistrates Court;
- A financial penalty of up to £30,000. More than one financial penalty could result in the landlord or manager being placed on the database of rogue landlords and property agents for a minimum of 2 years;
- Serious offenders may be given a banning order and prevented from letting or managing any properties for at least 12 month;
- A rent repayment order may be made, where the landlord has to repay up to 12 months' rent to the tenants;
- Removal of Fit and Proper Person status, preventing the landlord from being involved in the management of any licensable property.
- Repeated offenders could see their HMO Licence revoked.
Failing to comply with licensing conditions is an offence, subject to the same penalties as failing to licence a property (above).
Once you have made a valid application then you have fulfilled your statutory obligations. We will then process your application, payment and accompanying information.
We will contact you to arrange a property inspection.
We will also send you first, a proposed licence for you to check. Please read it carefully as you must comply with all the conditions. If you do not agree with something on your licence then contact us straight away. We will then send you a final licence which will last for a maximum of 5 years.
Throughout the duration of the licence, we may carry out further inspection of your property to check compliance with the conditions and housing law.
If you wish to change the management arrangements, number of occupants, layout or anything that affects the licence, you must let us know first and request a variation. If we agree we will vary your licence and this won't costs you anything. If you don't tell us and we find something has changed then you may be committing an offence and leave yourself open to enforcement action which could lead to a fine.
Contact us if you need to vary your licence by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 303 8588.
Although many properties will already meet most of the standards, we understand that many will not. One aim of licensing is to bring properties up to a safe and consistent standard, so where work is needed to meet the licensing standards we will put a condition on your licence with a timescale for completion.
Where work is needed that comes outside the scope of licensing we will informally address the issues with you and advise you how to meet the required standard or legislation.
The first thing to do is submit a valid application to us. This will ensure you have met your legal obligation and we can then work with you to ensure the standards are met.
Yes, you can apply for temporary exemption notice (TEN) but only in limited circumstances and for a short period of time. Contact us for further details.
Tacit consent will not apply to HMO licence applications. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you've not heard from us within 28 working days, please contact us.
As stated in legislation, licences are non-transferable. If the licence holder needs to change then a new licence application will need to be made with a new fee.
We will carry out checks to make sure that the person or organisation applying to become a licence holder or manager is a "fit and proper person". In deciding whether someone is "fit and proper", we must take into account, amongst other things:
- Any previous convictions relating to violence, sexual offences, drugs and fraud.
- Whether the proposed licence holder has broken any laws relating to housing or landlord and tenant issues.
- Whether the person has been found guilty of unlawful discrimination.
- Whether the person has received a banning order or is listed on the database of rogue landlords and property agents.
Yes, you may appeal against Council decisions, including:
- Refusal to grant a licence.
- Licensing conditions.
- Revocation of a licence.
- Variation of a licence.
- Refusal to vary a licence.
- Removal of fit and proper person status
Usually the first route of appeal should be made directly to the Council. If a final notice has been issued then you must appeal to the First-tier tribunal - Property Chamber, usually within 28 days.