HMO definition and HMO licensing

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					HMO definition and HMO licensing
                       HMO definition

•   S254 Housing Act 2004
•   Complex definition
•   Has to meet one of the basic ‘tests’
•   Lots of exemptions
                  Definition of household

•   Members of the same family
       Married or live together as husband and wife
       One person is a relative of the other
       A couple together with relatives of either party
                Definition of household

•   Where an owner and their family have other persons
    living with them who carry out work, or perform a
    service of an exclusively domestic nature for the
    owners, the accommodation is supplied to these
    persons by the owners and no rent is paid for this
    accommodation. E.g. Nanny, carer, servant, personal
                    HMO - standard test

•   Property consisting of 1 or
    more units of living
    accommodation, but not
    entirely consisting of self
    contained flats. Must be
    occupied by persons not
    forming a single household
    and amenities are shared
    (or lacking). Eg student
    shared houses
            HMO – self contained flat test

•   A self contained flat
    occupied by persons
    who do not form a single
    household and where
    amenities are shared (or
            HMO – Converted building test

•   Building converted into
    1 or more units of living
    accommodation, but not
    entirely consisting of
    self contained flats and
    occupied by persons not
    forming a single
           HMO – Certain converted blocks

•   Building converted into
    self contained flats
    where conversion work
    did not and still does not
    meet appropriate
    building standards and
    less than 2/3 of the flats
    are owner occupied.
•   Building managed by LAs, RSLs, NHS, Police, Fire
•   Buildings where occupation governed by other
    legislation, eg prisons, care homes
•   Buildings occupied by students and managed by
    education establishment and signed up to ACoP
•   Buildings occupied by religious communities
•   Buildings occupied by 2 persons who do not form a
    single household
•   Buildings mainly owner occupied, with max 2 lodgers
                Examples – Is it an HMO?

•   2 storey house, occupied by 5 students
•   4th floor flat in purpose built block occupied by a
    couple, their child, and the mother of one of the couple
•   Large first floor flat in a house converted with 1991
    Building Regs, occupied by 3 unrelated professionals
•   3 storey house occupied by a family of 3, plus 1 lodger
               Mandatory HMO licensing
•   Came into force 6th April 2006
•   HMOs of 3 storeys or more, with 5 or more occupants,
    forming 2 or more households (prescribed definition)
•   Storeys includes basements and attics if for
    occupation. Also includes buildings where commercial
    use on ground floor and accommodation above
•   Converted blocks of flats not complying with Building
    Regs and mainly owner occupied are exempt from
    mandatory licensing
•   Link with HHSRS – ensure no category 1 hazards
    within 5 years of licence
           Mandatory HMO licensing - Aims

•   Landlords are fit and proper persons
•   Minimum management standards
•   Vulnerable tenants are protected
•   High risk HMOs and their landlords are identified
                       The process

•   Landlords must apply and provide specific information,
    documents and a fee (except if Temporary Exemption
    Notice served)
•   Sign declarations, including fit and proper person
                   Fit & proper person
Have regard to the following evidence:
• Committed offences involving fraud, dishonesty,
  violence, drugs or certain sexual offences
• Unlawfully discriminated on grounds of sex, colour,
  race ethnic or national origins, or disability in carrying
  out any business
• Contravened any provision of housing or landlord &
  tenant law
• LA may also consider the above offences in relation to
  persons associated with proposed licence holder
         Other considerations before licensing
•   Property must be reasonably suitable for occupation
    by a specified number of persons
•   Satisfactory management arrangements must be in
       Do people proposed to be involved in management
        have sufficient level of competence?
       Are they fit & proper?
       Are proposed management structures and funding
        arrangements suitable?
                    Granting a licence

•   Licence relates to one property and one person only
•   Issue for maximum of 5 years, but can be less
•   Mandatory conditions are automatically attached, but
    LA can add discretionary conditions
                  Mandatory conditions

•   Production of annual gas safety certificate
•   Electrical appliances must be safe
•   Furniture must meet relevant fire safety regulations
•   Mains wired smoke detectors must be provided in
    communal areas
•   Tenants must have written statement of terms
•   Landlord must be able to prove all of these items if
    asked by LA
             Discretionary conditions
Examples may include:
• Restrictions on use of parts of the property
• Steps to reduce anti-social behaviour
• Facilities to be provided to meet suitability
• Requirement for landlord/manager to attend
  appropriate training courses
• Not for repairs
• Licence holder must comply with mandatory and
  discretionary conditions
          Other powers in relation to licences
•   LA may refuse to grant a licence if no suitable fit and
     proper person can be found
•   Licence can be varied at request of licence holder, etc
    or on LA’s own initiative
•   Licence can be revoked
      With agreement of licence holder

       Serious or repeated breaches of conditions
       No longer fit & proper person
       Property no longer subject to licensing
•   Operating an unlicensed HMO that should be licensed
      Maximum fine of £20,000

       Application for Rent Repayment Orders
      S21 notices (HA1988) cannot be served on assured
       shorthold tenant of an unlicensed property
•   Breaching any conditions of the licence
      Maximum fine of £20,000 for occupation condition

       Maximum fine of £5,000 for other conditions
                     Other sanctions
If property not licensed, but should be, LA must, in some
circumstances, or may in others, make:
• Interim management orders
• Special interim management orders
• Final management orders

•   Protects health and safety of occupants and visitors
    through proper management and carrying out any
    required works.
                    Licensing progress

•   336 HMOs currently licensed under the mandatory scheme
•   Applications still coming in, although more slowly
•   Pursuing a number of individuals who have not completed
    an application
•   Carrying out visits to verify licensable HMOs
•   Preparing cases for potential prosecution for non-licensing

               Private Housing
              Safe Homes Team
               Southbrook Rise
           4-8 Millbrook Road East
                  SO15 1YG
              Tel: 023 80832735