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If you rent out a house in multiple occupation (HMO), you will need to apply to us for a licence.

New legislation

New HMO rules, intended to improve the standard and safety of accommodation in the private rented sector, came into force on 1 October 2018.

Do I need a licence?

You will need a valid HMO licence if you rent out a house in multiple occupation which is:

  • occupied by five or more people.
  • occupied by people living in two or more separate households and lack or share bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities.
  • a building, a converted flat or a purpose built flat with up to two flats in the block and any of which are occupied as a HMO.

You must apply for the licence before the property is occupied by five or more people. The licence is usually issued for five years. In exceptional circumstances, the licence may be issued for a shorter period.

Applications

All HMO applications must include the following;

  • An application form, signed and dated with the correct fee.
  • A plan of the property showing room numbers, room dimension measurements in metric, automatic fire detection /fire alarms and fire doors.
  • A fire risk assessment.
  • Emergency lighting (if present).
  • A landlord's gas safety certificate - issued within the last 12 months.
  • An electrical installation certificate - issued within the last 5 years.
  • An automatic fire detection certificate (for three or more storey HMO and two storey or less HMO).
  • A portable Electric Appliance Test certificate.
  • Proof of the applicant’s address (utility bill, bank statement, driving license, passport).
  • A Tenancy agreement.
  • Any relevant Building Control Document.
  • Proof of planning permission – where necessary.

You will not need a licence if the property is:

  • managed by a registered social landlord;
  • managed by a health service body;
  • occupied by the owner and their family with no more than two lodgers; and
  • occupied by two people who are not of the same household.

Licence fee

The fee for a HMO licence is currently £730, payable by debit or credit card if you apply online.

Amenity Standards

All HMOs (those that are licensable and those that do not need a licence), and self-contained flats must meet the Amenity Standards and are subject to HMO safety inspections.

Service standards

We will aim to determine your application within 90 days. Where we experience a large number of applications, there may be some delay in the time taken to determine applications. If you have not heard from us within our service standards, please contact us.

Planning permission

You will need to check that you have the correct planning permission for the property to be used as a HMO. From 20 September 2017 any property being converted to a HMO must comply with the Article 4 Direction: relating to House in Multiple Occupation.

Renew or change a licence application

Unlicensed HMOs

If you are operating an unlicensed HMO, you could face an unlimited fine or we may issue a financial penalty of up to £30,000. In addition, you may be ordered to repay up to 12 months rent and any Housing Benefit paid during that period.

Temporary Exemption Notice

If you do not intend to run the property as a licensable HMO and are taking action to reduce the number of people in occupation you can apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice. This will allow you up to three months to take appropriate action to reduce the number of occupants or to return the property to single occupation. If at the end of the Temporary Exemption Notice period the property is still licensable, you will need to apply for a licence immediately to avoid enforcement action for running an unlicensed HMO.

Licence conditions

All licences have generic licence conditions. In some cases there will be conditions specific to the property such as to provide more amenities for the number of occupants and minimum room sizes. You will be given a timescale for the conditions to be met.

Appeals

Occasionally we may refuse a licence but this would be in exceptional circumstances and we will explain the reasons for the refusal. If you disagree with the decision, please contact us in the first instance.

You may appeal to a residential property tribunal regarding conditions attached to a licence or any decision to vary or to revoke a licence that has been granted. Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

Register of HMO Licences

You can search the public register of HMO licences online.

Environmental Health and Licensing

Daneshill House
Danestrete
Stevenage
Herts
SG1 1HN

env.health@stevenage.gov.uk

01438 242908 / 242916

© 2020 Stevenage Borough Council