Homes and property Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

Licensing process

We aim to determine all valid licence applications within a period of 60 days, but the time it takes can vary. Once you make an application (fees apply), we will assess whether the property is suitable for the number of people you want to rent it to. To do this we visit the property to see if the amenities and fire precautions are adequate and then decide whether or not to grant a licence, and if the licence needs to include any conditions requiring any changes. You cannot assume that a licence has been granted if you have not heard from us within the above specified time frame.

As long as you submit a valid application, you can continue to operate the HMO legally until we reach a decision and any appeals against that decision are complete.

Period of time covered

We can grant licences for a different lengths of time depending on experiences we may have had with the landlord in the past. Licences for:

  • a maximum of five years - may be granted to landlords who have a good track record and have shown that they will maintain good management and property standards
  • three years - if management arrangements or property conditions are not entirely satisfactory, or where we've had to intervene against the landlord but is not so serious as to refuse a licence, or where concerns are raised by the police or other statutory enforcement agencies. Three year licences will also be issued to any landlords or agents operating a licensable HMO without a licence.  The landlord or agent may also face prosecution

To reflect the complex nature of B&B type properties and due to the high turnover and the way that B&B properties are occupied, licences will be granted for the maximum of two years to ensure that adequate measures are in place to manage these properties. Where there has been intervention or a history of non compliance a one year licence maybe issued.

Refusal of a licence

The consequences of refusing to grant a licence are serious for both the landlord and us.  We have a duty to take on the management of the property by making an Interim Management Order. A full option appraisal will be carried out before any decision to refuse to grant a licence is made and the making of a management order should be regarded as a last resort.

Where a proposed licence holder or manager is assessed as being not fit and proper, we will work with that person wherever possible with a view to agreeing an alternative person who is fit and proper.

Making an appeal

You may appeal if we decide to:

  • refuse a licence
  • grant a licence with conditions
  • revoke a licence
  • vary a licence
  • refuse to vary a licence.

Appeals should be made to the Residential Property Tribunal, normally within 28 days. The Tribunal will also hear appeals regarding any enforcement notices that the Council may serve.

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