HMO Licensing Process.
Having received a complete HMO licence application, a Local Authority must issue a licence if it is satisfied that:
- The proposed licence holder is a fit and proper person (see below)
- The proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence
- The proposed manager (if there is one) is a fit and proper person, and the manager has control of the property (see below), or they are an employee of the person having control of the property
- The proposed management arrangements for the property are satisfactory
- The property is reasonably suitable for occupation
A licence will normally last for up to five years, however, if the council has specific concerns in relation to the HMO itself or the management of it, they may decide to issue a licence for a reduced period, for example two years.
Fit and proper person
In determining if a person is fit and proper for the purposes of the Act, we must take into account:
- Any previous convictions relating to violence, sexual offences, drugs and fraud
- Contravention of any law relating to housing or landlord and tenant matters
- Whether the person has been found guilty of unlawful discrimination
It is, however, a matter for the council to determine the relevance of these considerations (or other matters it considers to be relevant) in deciding whether or not a person is fit and proper.
Every licence must contain certain conditions which are listed below. We also have the discretion to add additional conditions to a licence.
- Mandatory condition requiring the licence holder to provide annual gas safety certificates (if gas is supplied to the property)
- Mandatory condition requiring the licence holder to ensure electrical appliances and furnishings provided are in a safe condition
- Mandatory condition requiring the licence holder to ensure that smoke alarms are installed in the property, and that they are maintained in proper working order
- Mandatory condition requiring the licence holder to supply the occupiers of the property with a written statement of the terms on which they occupy it
The licence will also specify the maximum number of people who can occupy the HMO.
The licence holder or manager of an HMO who allows it to be occupied by more persons than are permitted under the licence commits an offence and can be fined up to £20,000.
Furthermore, if that person otherwise breaches or fails to comply with a condition of the licence he will also commit an offence and may be fined up to a maximum of £5,000.
Refusal of licence application
We can refuse to grant a licence if they are satisfied that the HMO does not meet the appropriate standards, and/or the landlord or manager is not a fit and proper person.