The Housing Act 2004 changed the definition of House In Multiple Occupation.
A building, or part of a building, will be an HMO if:
it is occupied by persons who do not form a single household, and
it is occupied by those persons as their only or main residence and their occupation of the living accommodation constitutes the only use of that accommodation; and
rent is payable by at least one of the occupiers and
two or more of the households who occupy the living accommodation share one or more basic amenities or the living accommodation is lacking in one or more basic amenities
Purpose built blocks of self contained flats are not HMOs, but houses or buildings which have been converted into a block of flats may be a HMO if:
the standard of conversion does not comply with the 1991 Building Regulations; and
less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied.
The full definition can be found in sections 254 and 259 of the Housing Act 2004.
The new act will mean that most houses occupied by students will now be HMOs
Landlords of certain houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) need to apply to license their properties.
There are two types of licensing which apply in Rhondda Cynon Taf – Mandatory Licensing and Additional Licensing.
This applies to HMOs that are three or more storeys high and have five or more occupiers who do not form a single household.
This applies to HMOs that are excluded from the Mandatory HMO Licensing scheme, such as two storey HMOs,and three storey HMOs with four occupants.
HMOs of two or more storeys which accommodate three occupants (who do not form a single household) fall outside of Mandatory and Additional Licensing but must still meet the same requirements in respect of fire precaution works, conditions, amenities and suitability for a maximum number of occupiers.
Buildings converted into self-contained flats are a new classification of HMO introduced by the Housing Act 2004. A building that is converted into self-contained flats, but does not meet the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations and where less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied.
Do all HMOs have to be licensed?
Student accommodation that is owned and managed by a university is exempt licensing. Universities have to comply with a separate code of practice about their accommodation.
What is HMO licensing?
Licensing looks at both the HMO itself (fire precaution works, conditions, amenities and suitability for a maximum number of occupiers) and also the licence holder and how they manage the property. The licence holder and any manager need to be a 'fit and proper person'.
A licence has conditions attached to it which aim to ensure that HMOs are safe for the tenants and that they do not cause unnecessary concerns for other local residents.
I have a pass-ported licence, how will Additional Licensing affect me?
All pass-ported Additional Licences have now expired as of 16th June 2009 and Owners/Agents would have been sent a Licensing pack on 15th May 2009.
How do I apply for an HMO licence?
Contact the Housing Team in the Public Health and Protection Department for an application form. The form should then be submitted with the fee (£541 for landlords who are members of the Wales Accredited Landlords' Scheme and £598 for all other landlords) and gas, electrical, alarm and emergency lighting (if applicable) certificates and a basic CRB
If your property is already occupied you will not have met your legal obligations to apply to license the property until we receive a completed application with the correct fee. If you are unsure about anything on the application form, please contact us.
How long does the HMO licence last?
Once issued, an HMO licence lasts for up to five years before you need to apply to re-license the property. In some circumstances the licence may expire sooner.
Can an HMO licence transfer from one person to another?
An HMO licence is issued to one person and cannot be transferred to anyone else. If you have a licence for an HMO and you sell the property, the new owner will need to apply for a new licence.
What happens if I don't license my property?
Failure to license an HMO is a criminal offence for which an owner can be prosecuted and can be fined up to £20,000.
Where owners have been prosecuted tenants can claim back any rent they have paid to the landlord whilst the property was not licensed. To do this, tenants must apply to the Residential Property Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order.
Failure to comply with licence conditions is also an offence and the fine can be up to £5,000. Licences can also be revoked if a landlord fails to comply with licence conditions.
In certain cases if the owner fails to license, the Council can make a Management Order and take over the management of the property. The owner will not have access to the property and the Council will collect the rent.
Telephone: 01443 425001
Fax: 01443 425301
Minicom: 01443 425535