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Licensable HMO’s

The Housing Act 2004 introduces the licensing of certain Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s).  It is compulsory for Councils to licence larger, higher risk HMO’s. A Council can also licence other types of HMO to tackle problems in these smaller properties.

All owners must have a license to operate a larger HMO, failure to do so could result in a prosecution, a criminal record, a fine of up to £20,000 and other sanctions such as Rent Repayment orders or Management Orders.

Larger HMO’s, such as bedsits and shared houses, often have poorer physical management standards than other privately rented properties. The people who live in HMOs are amongst the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society. As HMOs are the only housing option available for many people, the government recognises that it is vital that they are properly regulated.

A licensable HMO is one which comprises 3 or more storeys and 5 or more unrelated occupiers, consisting of 2 or more households and sharing facilities e.g. kitchen, bathroom, wc.

A storey includes:

·        Any basement used wholly or partly as living accommodation: that has been constructed, converted or adapted for use wholly or in part as living accommodation: that is being used in connection with and as an integral part of the HMO or it is the only or principal entry into the HMO from the street.

·        Any attic used wholly or partly as living accommodation: that has been constructed, converted or adapted for use wholly or partly as living accommodation or is being used in connection with an integral part of the HMO.

·        Each storey comprising business premises either above or below the living accommodation HMOs consisting only of self-contained flats are not subject to mandatory licensing. However, if there is a self- contained flat in the same HMO as none self-contained accommodation it has to be licensed as part of the HMO.

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