Houses in multiple occupation, also known as houses of multiple occupancy, is a British English term which refers to residential properties where ‘common areas’ exist and are shared by more than one household.
With presssure from local residents the councils are beginning to roll out blanket HMO licensing… The introduction is mainly due to problems such as anti-social behaviour although this is sometimes connected to poor property management of private rented housing in the local areas.
ML – Mandatory Licensing
Mandatory licensing applies to HMOs for which:
- the HMO or any part of it comprises three storeys or more
- it is occupied by five or more persons, living in two or more households
- the occupiers share some facilities
Landlords of licensable HMOs must apply to the Local Authority for a licence.
AL – Additional Licensing
Local Authorities have a discretionary power to establish a scheme to require particular types of HMO within their area to be licensed. This can apply to any type of HMO provided it is not already mandatorily licensable, nor exempted by the Act (for example student halls of residence, housing association owned properties).
Before they can set up such a scheme, the authority must follow the legal process which includes:
- identifying the problems arising from that type of HMO
- considering whether any other course of action to deal with the problems is available
- ensuring the scheme is consistent with their local housing strategy
- consulting with those likely to be affected including tenants, landlords, landlord organisations and others in the local community.
An additional licensing scheme does not come into effect until three months after it is made and once in force it may last for up to five years.
SL – Selective Licensing
Local authorities have the power to selectively licence ANY privately rented properties in designated areas suffering from low housing demand and/or significant and persistent anti-social behaviour. A selective licensing scheme is not limited to HMOs. Local authorities must follow the legal process which includes:
- identifying the contribution that the private rented sector is making to problems of low housing demand or anti-social behaviour in the area
For Lincoln there will be a mandatory license fee which is currently set at £463 by Lincoln City Council. There is no current plan for additional or selctive licensing.
Areas surrounding Lincoln, such as Spalding, Gainsborough, Grantham, Sleaford, Boston, Louth etc. are seeing similar fee levels.
What are you thoughts on this topic?
We’d be very interested in knowing if you’re affected as a landlord, tenant or resident.