Houses In Multiple Occupation
If you are a landlord of a residential property occupied by more than one household, it may need to be licensed under the Housing Act 2004.
There are three categories of licensing:
Mandatory HMO Licensing: this applies to properties which are three or more storeys and occupied by five or more persons who together do not form a single household and the property contains shared facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.
Additional licensing: local housing authorities can designate all or part of their district as subject to licensing requirements in relation to specified types of HMO’s – which are not covered by the mandatory licensing scheme.
Selective Licensing: local housing authorities how the power to extend the licensing regime by designating all or part of their district as subject to selective licensing. More and more London Boroughs are choosing to adopt selective licensing schemes whereby most private rented properties that fall within the scheme boundary need to be licensed.
Storeys & staircases
In Bristol City Council v Digs (Bristol) Ltd  EWHC 869 the High Court held that a private staircase giving access to a two-storey maisonette were not to be treated as separate storeys. The maisonette was a two-storey house in multiple occupation (HMO) and not a four storey HMO. Therefore, the maisonette did not fall within the mandatory HMO licensing regime as it was not a HMO comprising three storeys or more.
Council Tax and HMO
If a property is an HMO, the liability for council tax falls on the owner
A HMO Licence is non-transferrable
Housing Act 2004, Section 68
(6) “A licence may not be transferred to another person”.
(7) If the holder of the licence dies while the licence is in force, the licence ceases to be in force on his death.
(8) However, during the period of 3 months beginning with the date of the licence holder’s death, the house is to be treated for the purposes of this Part and Part 3 as if on that date a temporary exemption notice had been served in respect of the house under section 62.
For specialist advice in relation to HMO licensing requirements contact us.