You can apply for a Licence under London Borough of Newham's compulsory Selective Licensing scheme via the My Newham website.

You can apply for a HMO License via Brighton & Hove Council's website under its Additional Licensing Scheme. To check if your HMO is in a Licence area click here  

Alternatively HouseLet Direct can answer your questions and explain Licence requirements, apply for the Licence on your behalf, where you have provided evidence to meet the 'fit and proper test'.

Book a HouseLet Direct 3 month periodic Licence inspection from only £199 (incl). Use our online Booking Form to book your inspection

HouseLet Direct can help Landlords meet Licence conditions and provide a single point of contact for tenants, with our out of hours Emergency Contact service
 

Helping Create Safe Homes

 



Licensing

Since the introduction of the Housing Act 2004 licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) has been mandatory. This means that higher risk, large HMOs will normally require a Licence from their local Council, if the building and it's occupation meet the following criteria;

  • Three or more storeys
  • Five or more occupants
  • Two or more separate households

A HMO is usually a dwelling which is occupied by more than one household and where amenities and facilities are shared. HMO's includes bedsits, flats, and accommodation shared by students or other groups. Buildings owned and managed by public bodies, religious or educational establishments are usually exempt from Licence requirements. Under the Housing Act 2004 there are four tests to define what type a HMO is:

The Standard Test

  • Any building which consists of one or more units of accommodation which are not self-contained and where two or more households share one or more basic amenities, or where the accommodation is lacking basic amenities.

The Self-Contained Flat Test

  • Any part of a building which is a self-contained flat, which consists of one or more units of accommodation, in which two or more households share one or more basic amenities or where the accommodation is lacking basic amenities.

The Converted Building Test

  • Any building, which has been converted and contains one or more units of accommodation, which are not self-contained (whether or not the building also consists of some self-contained units).

Certain Converted Blocks of Flats

  • Any building converted into and consisting of self-contained flats only; and does not comply with appropriate building standards (e.g. the 1991 Building Regulations) and less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied, (more than one third on short tenancies).

The following Buildings are exempt from the Housing Act 2004 definition of a HMO:

  • Building occupied by only two people who do not form a single household;
  • Buildings managed by educational establishments, Local Housing Authorities, Registered Social Landlords, Police, Fire, Health Authority or regulated by other legislation such as residential care homes etc; 
  • Buildings occupied by religious communities; 
  • Buildings predominantly owner occupied, including residential landlords where the owner occupier (and family members) occupies the building (or flat) with no more than 2 other persons; 
  • Buildings converted into self-contained flats, where the conversion meets 1991 Building Regulations.
  • Other self-contained flat conversions where there is no sharing of bathroom facilities.

The full legal definition of a HMO is contained within the Housing Act 2004 which can be found on the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) website. The definition of a single household can be found in Section 258 of the Housing Act 2004.

HMOs are rightly considered to be higher risk properties. Failure to apply for a Licence (for licensable HMOs) can result in prosecution by your Council leading to a fine of to to £20,000. To find your local Council click here

If you need advice on how to comply with HMO Licence requirements or are unsure about whether your Tenants meet the Housing Act 2004 definition of a 'household' call our experts at HouseLet Direct for clear, professional, advice.

If you need an inspection to help satisfy Licence conditions and meet your legal obligations as 'a fit and proper person' as defined under Section 66 of the 2004 Act; book a property inspection here

Additional and Selective Licensing

Sections 79, 80 and 81 of the Housing 2004 Act also allows for Additional and Selective Licensing of properties. The Act allows Councils to designate particular types of properties and designated geographical areas, to require a compulsory Licence for all properties. Licenses can last up to five years and have conditions attached to them that must be complied with. Failure to apply for a Licence can lead to prosecution and a fine and mean that you are unable to let your property in the future.

London Borough of Newham Selective Licensing Scheme

The London Borough of Newham was the first Council in England and Wales to introduce compulsory Selective Licensing for all private sector rented properties regardless of size or number of households. The scheme was approved in June 2012 and came into force on 1 January 2013.

The Licence fee for each property is £500. Under the scheme Landlords are required to ensure that properties are not occupied by more than the maximum permitted number under Licence conditions and also carry out periodic (3- 6 month inspections) to identify any problems relating to the condition and management of the property.

Landlords are also required to keep copies of inspections and provide copies of reports to the Council on demand within 28 days. Failure to comply with any Licence condition may result in legal proceedings including fines up to £5,000 and loss of the Licence, which means that some Newham Landlords can no longer rent their properties.

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Selective Licensing Scheme

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham introduced borough-wide private rented property licensing on the 1 September 2014. This means all private rented property in the borough must be licensed by the Council. Licences last for up to five years and cost £500.

London Borough of Waltham Forest Selective Licensing Scheme

The London Borough of Waltham Forest has introduced borough-wide private rented property licensing from 1 April 2015. This means all private rented property in the borough must be licensed by the Council. Licences last for up to five years and cost £500. There is an early bird discount period 16 March - 15 June 2015 offering a 50 per cent discount on the fee, with the charge reduced to £250 per property.

London Borough of Croydon Selective Licensing Scheme

At a Cabinet Meeting on 16 March 2015 Croydon Council agreed to introduce borough-wide private rented property licensing from 1 October 2015. This means all private rented property in the borough must be licensed by the Council. Licences last for up to five years and cost £750 with a reduced fee of £350 for early applications.

Liverpool City Council Selective Licensing Scheme

Liverpool City Council has introduced city wide private rented property licensing from 1 April 2015. This means all private rented property in the city must be licensed by the Council. Licences last for up to five years and start at  £400 for a single property with £350 for each additional property. Landlords who have  not registered by 1 April 2015 are warned they could be charged an administration fee or face prosecution.

Brighton and Hove Additional Licensing for HMO's

From 5 November 2012, Brighton & Hove Council have introduced compulsory licensing of smaller HMOs in the following 5 wards: 

  • Hanover & Elm Grove
  • Moulsecoombe & Bevendean
  • St Peter's & North Laine
  • Hollingdean & Stanmer
  • Queen's Park

Under the Additional Licensing scheme all properties rented as HMOs will have to comply with HMO Standards including HHSRS.  HouseLet Direct can help responsible Landlords and Agents meet Brighton’s HMO Standard’s and maintain compliance with Licence conditions.

Other Council Schemes

There has been a growing trend for a number of years for Additional and Selective Licensing of the private rented sector. From January 2012 Oxford City Council became the first Council in the country to introduce a city wide HMO Licensing scheme. The following Council's all operate Additional or Selective Licensing Schemes within their areas (the list is not exhaustive). HouseLet Direct believes that Councils will continue to adopt new schemes to improve the quality of rental properties within their areas and to tackle wider reputational issues and to in a bid to raise revenue.

Breckland District Council enter

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Hastings Borough Council enter

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HouseLet Direct has been working with responsible Landlords and Agents within London for a number of years to improve standards within the private rented sector. Our HHSRS inspection and certificate service is popular with London and South East private Landlords and Agents and regularly requested by Councils for properties used as temporary accommodation and by RSL's.

As increasingly more and more Councils seek to introduce blanket Selective Licensing Schemes, HouseLet Direct can help Landlords meet Licence conditions and provide pre Licence inspections to calculate room sizes, permitted numbers and identify conditions, which could give rise to Category 1 or 2 Hazards and issues relating to Anti Social Behaviour. Our Noisedirect service can also help Landlords take positive action for ASB and demonstrate that they are 'a fit and proper person'; a Licence requirement.

HouseLet Direct provides a range of service for Landlords and Agents to help achieve compliance with legal requirements and meet proactive quality standards for safe homes. Find out more about our inspection packages and prices here

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