HMO licensing - frequently asked questions
What is an HMO?
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 were the additional licensing schemes brought in?
- Why did the council introduce additional licensing when there was 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 did the additional licensing schemes start?
- What happens to the existing licensing schemes?
- Does additional HMO licensing cover the whole city?
- What types of HMO does additional licensing cover?
- Is it true that houses converted into flats are not covered by the schemes?
- Are purpose built blocks of flats included in the additional licensing schemes?
- Is a single storey flat above commercial premises subject to additional licensing?
- How much does an HMO licence cost?
- Can 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?
- 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?
- If I get an HMO licence will I still need planning permission?
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?
- Are any properties exempt from HMO Licensing?