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Is your HMO licenced?

Under new Government rules that come into force today, 1 October 2018, if you are a private landlord or managing agent letting out a property that meets the new definition of mandatorily licensable Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO), you must hold or have made an application for a licence - if you do not or have not, you are committing a CRIMINAL OFFENCE.

You require a licence if your property is rented to five or more people who form more than one household (ie they are not a single family) who share basic amenities and who reside in the property as their main or principal home.

A mandatory licence will normally last for a maximum of five years, although it can be for a shorter period.

Any property rented to at least three people who do not form a single household (eg a single family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen is also an HMO; in such cases, whilst a licence is not required, you still have to meet a range of additional legal duties around management, amenity and fire safety. Often properties are HMOs despite being called a 'house share' or 'shared house'.

As a landlord or agent, if you have failed to meet these new requirements you may now face a civil penalty of up to £30,000 for each offence you are committing or be prosecuted and face an unlimited fine; you may also be subject to a rent repayment order for up to one year's rent.

In addition you may also be added to a national database of rogue landlords and property agents and could even receive an order banning you from letting out a house in England or engaging in property management work.

Applications should have been submitted online at the link below.

Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

Landlords who are now committing an offence are advised to apply immediately as continued failure could lead to greater sanctions.