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HMO licensing

On April 6th 2006 mandatory HMO licensing came into force across England with the intention of raising the standard of accommodation in HMOs. Landlords must register their HMO with the council if the property has 3 habitable storeys or more AND is occupied by 5 or more people in two or more households. For licensing purposes a household refers to members of the same family living together and couples who live together (whether or not they are married). A group of friends sharing does not constitute a single household.

The council will then assess whether (in their view) there is enough space for the occupants and if the property is well managed before granting a license. Councils also have the power to introduce licensing for individual smaller HMOs or all rental properties in certain areas they want to improve so always check with your local council to see what the rules are where your property is.

For a basic guide to whether your property should have a license or not answer the following 3 questions:

If the answer to all 3 questions is yes then you may need a license.

Are there any exceptions?

The following are exempt under current rules:

Purpose-built blocks of flats are not HMOs. However, if any of the individual flats are shared by more than 2 tenants in two or more households they will be HMOs.

Houses which are converted entirely into self-contained flats will only be HMOs if the conversion did not meet the standard of the 1991 Building Regulations and more than one-third of the flats are let out on short term tenancies.

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