Licensing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
We work for safe, well managed private rented accommodation for all our residents.
There are two schemes for Licensing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Brighton & Hove:
Details of the schemes and how to apply can be found below.
1. City-wide National Licensing
The Housing Act 2004 requires landlords of HMOs to apply for licences. The HMOs that need to be licensed are as follows:
- three or more storeys, which are
- occupied by five or more people forming two or more households (ie people not related, living together as a couple, etc), and
- which have an element of shared facilities (eg kitchen, bathroom, etc)
As far as licensing is concerned, attics and basements are included as storeys if they are used as part of the living accommodation.
Landlords or their agents need to apply to the council's Private Sector Housing team for an HMO Licence. Licences are issued for a period of up to five years and a new licence has to be applied for when they expire. Licences are not transferable and a new application is necessary if a property changes hands.
Applications must be accompanied by the appropriate fee, as decided by the council's Housing Cabinet Member meeting on 5 January 2011. See below for details of how to apply.
Unless ultimately, after inspection, a licence is refused, landlords will be operating legally once a valid application has been received by the council, even if we have not yet granted a licence. The Housing Act includes a formal appeal process for people who are unhappy with the council's decisions on granting a licence or the conditions attached to it. Appeals can be made to the Residential Property Tribunal at their regional office, which is Chichester.
If you think your property may need to be licensed or have any questions, please ring Private Sector Housing on (01273) 293156 or email us on email@example.com.
Standards of the Licensing Scheme
Properties that are required to be licensed need to meet certain standards. Details of these standards are available by clicking on the following link HMO Licensing Standards [PDF 86kb]. Please note, the Housing Committee on 26 September 2012 approved changes to the minimum room sizes for kitchens and kitchens with dining areas in licensable Housing in Multiple Occupation. The sizes have been reduced and can be viewed by following the link to the standards above.
2. Additional Licensing for smaller Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in five wards
Following extensive consultation Housing Committee has agreed to the introduction of additional HMO Licensing.
From 5 November 2012, additional licensing has applied in the following five wards in Brighton & Hove:
- Hanover and Elm Grove
- Moulsecoomb and Bevendean
- St Peter's and North Laine
- Hollingdean and Stanmer
- Queen's Park
If you are unsure if an HMO is in one of these wards go to our mapit page and enter the address or postcode of the house. Click on local information and then select 'What's my ward?'.
The additional licensing scheme came into operation on 5 November 2012, and unless the scheme is ended beforehand, lasts for a period of five years. It applies to smaller houses in multiple occupation, consisting of two or more storeys, with three or more occupiers from two or more households sharing facilities.
Download the notice of designation [PDF 33kb]
Access the full committee report with the outcomes of the consultation by downloading the papers from the Housing Committee meeting held on 20 June 2012 (PDF 198kb).
Standards of the Licensing Scheme
Properties that are required to be licensed need to meet certain standards. Details of these standards are available by clicking on the following link HMO Licensing Standards [PDF 86kb]. Please note, the Housing Committee on 26 September 2012 approved changes to the minimum room sizes for kitchen and kitchens with dining areas in licensable Houses in Multiple Occupation. The sizes have been reduced and can be viewed by following the link to the standards above.
Making an application
1. National Licensing
You can apply using our online HMO licence application form. Details of the fees and making a payment are included on the application form. If you would like to look at the fees before linking to the application form they may be viewed here HMO Licensing Fees page. If you prefer not to apply online, you can email PSH@brighton-hove.gov.uk to request a PDF application form which you will be able to download.
2. Additional Licensing
You can apply using our online HMO licence application form. Fees are calculated automatically when you complete the application form. If you would like to find out the fee before linking to the application form they may be viewed on our HMO Licensing Fees page. If you prefer not to apply online, you can email HMOAdditionalLicensing@brighton-hove.gov.uk to request a PDF application form which you will be able to download.
How to pay -
you will be given the opportunity to pay at the end of the online application process.
If you are not applying online you can still make a payment using our online payment system. (This link will open in a new window). Please ensure you include the first line of the licenced property address in the relevant section of the payments page.
If making an online payment is not possible for you please call us on 01273 293156
Please note an application is not valid until payment of the fee has been received.
Frequently Asked Questions
'HMO’ stands for House in Multiple Occupation. However, it does not have to be a house. It can be a building or a part of a building if:
- it is used for living accommodation
- by more than two people
- who are not part of the same family
- who share one or more basic amenities (bath/shower, WC or kitchen)
- and pay rent
In certain circumstances, some properties converted into flats can also be HMOs.
As far as licensing is concerned, attics and basements are included as storeys if they are used as part of the living accommodation. Previously, HMOs were only defined as houses converted into flats or bedsits, but the new act widens this definition and many more shared houses are now included. In Brighton & Hove this is likely to affect a lot of student housing.
What does licensing mean?
Landlords have to complete application forms and pay a fee, and we then assess whether the property is suitable for the number of people the landlord wants to rent it to. In most cases, we will visit the property to assess if kitchen facilities and fire precautions are adequate. We will then decide whether or not to grant a licence and if the licence needs to include any conditions requiring any changes. We have to consult with the landlord about the proposed licence before we finalise it.
Why is the additional licensing scheme being bought in?
- Why is the council introducing the scheme when there is already a licensing scheme in operation?
- Why not just tackle less responsible landlords without having additional licensing?
- Is the council using additional licensing fees to raise money?
When and what is the scheme?
- When will the additional licensing scheme start?
- When can I make an application?
- What happens to the existing licensing scheme?
- Will additional HMO licensing cover the whole city?
- What types of HMOs will additional licensing cover?
- Is it true that houses converted into flats will not be covered by the scheme?
- Will purpose built blocks of flats be included in the additional licensing scheme?
- Would a single storey flat above a commercial premise be subject to additional licensing?
- How much will an HMO licence cost?
- Could I pay the licensing fee in instalments?
- If I have more than one licensable HMO, do I have to make an application for them all at the same time?
- How do I apply for a licence?
- As a freeholder, am I expected to carry out work within individual flats over which I have no control, eg those owned by lessees and sub-let as an HMO, as part of the process??
- What happens if my HMO should be licensed but I don't apply for one?
What is the process?
- How does additional HMO licensing work?
- Once I have applied for a licence, when will my property be inspected and how often?
- What happens if I want to sell my licensed HMO?
What are the conditions and are standards being revised?
- What conditions are applied to an HMO licence?
- Is the council going to revise standards applied to HMOs on the back of additional licensing?
- Are kitchen sizes increasing?
- Will wash hand basins in bedrooms be required?
- As a landlord, how might I be expected to tackle anti-social behaviour?
- What happens if I don't comply with the conditions of the HMO licence?
The council maintains a register of HMO licences, which is available for inspection at Hove Town Hall, preferably by appointment, during office hours. Please contact Private Sector Housing for details. Contact details are below. A list of fully licensed HMOs is available to download [PDF 178kb]. For further information about the introduction of HMO Licensing, see our HMO Licensing in Sussex information sheet [PDF 243kb].
If you think your property may need to be licensed or have any questions, please ring Private Sector Housing on (01273) 293156 or e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org
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