Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)—licensing regime
Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)—licensing regime

The following Local Government practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)—licensing regime
  • Mandatory licensing
  • Aims of licensing regime
  • Additional licensing
  • Licence conditions
  • Variations
  • Temporary exemption

Mandatory licensing

Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004 (HA 2004) places a duty on a local housing authority (LHA) to effectively implement mandatory licensing in their district. Discretionary (or additional) licensing applies to other forms of private letting of premises where the LHA deems it necessary.

Since 1 October 2018, when the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018, SI 2018/221 came into force, all properties that satisfy the test set out in HA 2004, s 254 need to be licensed, see Practice Note: Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)—Defining an HMO.

HMO guidance for LHAs has been issued and should be followed unless there is a very good reason not to do so.

HA 2004, Part 3 allows LHAs to designate all or part of their area for selective licensing which applies to privately rented houses which are not HMOs. If an LHA does make a designation, the effect is to require landlords of properties specified in the designation and within the area to which it applies, to apply for and obtain a licence. Failure to do so is a criminal offence. See Q&A: What is the selective licensing regime and how does it operate?

The onus is entirely upon the landlord or the party receiving the rent to apply for the licence. See: Who must apply for an HMO licence pursuant to Part

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