Multiple occupancy homes - Blaby District Council

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Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

What is a HMO?

A property is a standard HMO if it meets the following conditions:

  • There are three or more tenants

  • There are two or more households, in other words the occupants are not all related to each other

  • The tenants share some basic amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet

  • The property is the only or main residence for all the occupants

  • The property is not used for any other purpose

There are other types of HMO and some exemptions to the definition given above. The legal definition of what makes a property a HMO can be found in sections 254 and 257 of the Housing Act 2004.

There are regulations that apply to all HMOs to ensure that tenants do not live in unsafe or overcrowded accommodation. The Council will investigate concerns of poor housing conditions in HMOs and can take legal action against landlords if the problems are serious enough.

HMO Licensing

Since 2006 landlords of some HMOs have been required to obtain a licence from the Council which places conditions on the way the landlord maintains and manages the property. The local authority carries out safety inspections and issues licences for homes of multiple occupancy to ensure that they are:

  • Safe
  • Not overcrowded 
  • Are managed well by a 'fit and proper' person.

Which HMOs require a licence?

The law changed on 01 October 2018

The Government has changed the HMO licensing requirements so from 01 October 2018 the number of storeys that a property has is no longer relevant. This means a landlord / manager of a HMO will be required to hold a license if the property has:

  • five or more occupants;

  • forming more than two households

If you are a landlord / manager of a HMO that meets the above criteria you need to apply for a licence immediately. It is a criminal offence to operate a licensable HMO without a licence.

If you are unsure whether your property requires a HMO licence under the new definition you can complete the pre-application questionnaire.

How to apply for a HMO Licence as a landlord

You must complete the HMO licence application form and return it to the Council with the required fee. The guidance notes should be read before completing the application form.

We expect it to take up to 3 months from receipt of a complete application (including the submission of all the required documents) to determine the licence application and either grant or refuse the licence.

The application form must be accompanied by a number of documents which are listed on the application form.

You can apply using the online application form or by printing the form below. 

Printable forms

Pre Application Form

Application Form

Temporary Exemption Application Form

Application Form Guidance Notes

Minimum space and amenity standards 

Do I have to apply for a licence if I plan to take steps so that the property will not require a licence?

If you intend to change the occupancy of a HMO such that it will no longer require a licence, you can apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN). A Temporary Exemption Notice only lasts for three months (in exceptional circumstances it can be extended for a further three months) and therefore the Council must be satisfied that your proposals to take the property out of licensing regime can realistically be achieved in that time.

If the property needs to be licensed, but no application has been made for the licence or a TEN, it is not possible to lawfully evict tenants under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. If the TEN application is approved, the Section 21 rights are retained for the period of the temporary exemption notice. If the application is rejected, then the right to use Section 21 is lost. The courts will decide on the validity of any Section 21 notice served.

To apply for a TEN please complete the Temporary Exemption Notice application form.

How much does a HMO licence cost and how long does it last?

 HMO licences usually last for 5 years but this can occasionally be for a shorter period depending on the circumstances. The fee reflects the amount of work that the Council is required to carry out on a standard application and the monitoring during the licence period. There are reduced fees for applications to renew existing licences and for multiple applications received at the same time.

The fee is split into two parts; the application fee covers the cost of processing the licence and is non-refundable if the application is not successful or is withdrawn. There is a separate charge to cover the costs of the licensing scheme during the period of the licence, which is payable once a licence has been issued.

There are reduced fees where more than one application is made at the same time. 

New licence application fees
  App Fee Monitoring Fee  Total 
 Standard  £515.16  £279.20  £794.36
 Subsequent
 £446.40  £279.20  £725.60

If you are making more than one new licence application at the same time the standard fee applies to the first application but each subsequent application is £446.40

The monitoring charge payable once the licence is issued is £279.20 

The total cost of a new HMO licence over the 5 year period is £794.36 (or £725.60 for subsequent applications). 

Renewal licence application fees
  App Fee Monitoring Fee  Total 
 Renewal  £400.56 £279.20  £679.76 
 Subsequent  £331.80  £279.20  £611.00

If you are making more than one renewal application at the same time the standard renewal fee applies to the first application but each subsequent application is £331.80

The monitoring charge payable once the licence is issued is £279.20

The total cost of a renewal HMO licence over the 5 year period is £679.76 or (£611 for subsequent applications)

A licence application will not be accepted until the application fee has been paid.

The fee can be paid in the following ways:

  • Online - please use our online application form.

  • Cheque - please make it payable to "Blaby District Council" and include it with the application form.

  • In person - you can pay at the Cashiers desk in the Council Offices at Narborough by debit / credit card. Please note that cash is NOT accepted at the Council Offices.

  • Over the phone - you can pay by debit / credit card by contacting the Environmental Health office on 0116 272 7784

What should I do if I think a property should be licensed but isn't?

All HMO licences are listed on the Council's Public Register of HMO licences. If the property you suspect is not on that register, you can provide the Council with the address and other information that you think is useful.

However you choose to contact us, we will treat the information in the strictest confidence. Unless you specifically ask us to do so, we will not call or email you back. We will never pass your details onto anyone involved in the management of the property.

What happens if a HMO requires a licence but the landlord / manager doesn't hold a licence?

It is a criminal offence to operate a HMO without a licence if it is required to have one. Landlords can be prosecuted in Magistrates Court and given an unlimited fine. In addition the Council and tenants can apply for a rent repayment order and claim back up to 12 months rent / housing benefit payments. Alternatively, the Council may choose to issue a civil penalty which could be up to £30,000.

Fire Safety Guidance

The Government has issued guidance on fire safety to assist in understanding what has to be done for HMOs to comply with the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The intention of this guidance is to ensure that there is a consistent risk assessment approach in private rented properties by both Fire Services and Local Authorities. Compliance with the guidance should in most cases also satisfy the HMO licensing requirement. 

Lacors Fire Safety document

It is a requirement that all HMOs (not just licensed HMOs) have a fire risk assessment conducted and the appropriate fire safety measures put in place. Further information on fire safety and how to do a fire risk assessment can be found on the website of  Decent and Safe Homes in the East Midlands (DASH).

What standards do licensed HMOs have to meet?

Before issuing a HMO licence the Council have to be satisfied that the property is suitable for the number of occupants applied for and that it is safe. The Council have published  minimum space and amenity standards that all licensed HMO must meet.

These standards vary depending on the type of HMO such as bedsits, shared houses (such as student houses), hostels etc. and cover:

  • Minimum bedroom sizes

  • The number of bathrooms and toilets required

  • The minimum size of the kitchen / shared living space and the number of cooking facilities

What conditions are attached to a HMO licence?

All HMO licences must have mandatory conditions attached to them. These conditions cover issues including:

  • The maximum number of occupants and households

  • Gas safety

  • Electrical Safety

  • Fire safety

  • Kitchen and bathroom amenities

  • Management standards including the requirement for the license holder to be a fit and proper person

  • Landlord and tenant agreements

In addition the Council can add discretionary conditions where it is deemed appropriate to do so.

What happens if the standards in the HMO are not safe or do not meet the conditions of their licence?

It is a criminal offence to break any of the licence conditions or to not maintain a HMO in a safe and reasonable condition. The landlord / licence holder can be prosecuted for this offence and fined an unlimited amount.

All licensed HMOs will be inspected as part of the application process and a further inspection will be conducted approximately half way through the 5 year term of the licence. The Council can carry out additional inspections if they deem it necessary (for example if complaints from the tenants are received).

If serious health and safety issues are identified the Council can take legal action to protect the occupants. This can include serving legal notices requiring the landlord to make repairs, or in the most serious cases it can conduct emergency repairs or close all or parts of the property.

Anything we've missed?

If you have any questions about HMOs and licensing that are not covered above please contact the Environmental Health team at Blaby District Council by email,  environmental.health@blaby.gov.uk or by phone 0116 272 7784.

Downloads

House in Multiple Occupation Public Register

External websites

Decent and safe homes East Midlands  

Contact

Environmental Health 
Blaby District Council
Council Offices
Desford Road
Narborough
Leicester
LE19 2EP
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Last updated: 04 December 2018

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