Landlords: You could be affected by dramatic HMO licensing changes

Wed 26th Sep 2018

Laura Noble from Coodes’ Residential Property team comments on radical changes to HMO rules and regulations, which come into force on October 1st.

As some landlords will already be aware, from Monday 1st October new rules regarding licences for Houses of Multiple Occupants (HMO) will change. The new rules will lead to a dramatic increase of properties requiring a licence. Many more landlords will now need an HMO licence.

Currently, landlords require a licence if their property;

  • Is three or more storeys,
  • has shared facilities, such as kitchens or bathrooms,
  • and houses more than five, unrelated people living in the property, forming two or more households.

What are the changes?

As of 1st October, the requirement for the property to be more than three storeys is being removed. Therefore, HMOs that have shared facilities, housing five or more unrelated people, which form two or more households, will require a licence from the council.

There are around 60,000 HMOs in England that are currently under licence. With the new changes being introduced an additional 177,000 rental properties will now require a HMO licence.

Why are these changes being implemented?

The new rules aim to increase the quality of rented accommodation and further protect tenants from poor living conditions. There has been a significant increase in smaller properties, which were originally built for families, being adapted to HMO accommodation. The authorities will be able to further crack down on those landlords who exploit tenants and rent overcrowded and sub-standard properties.

We have previously seen new regulations come into force in Cornwall, where the council developed its own rules regarding the creation of HMO accommodation in Falmouth. Due to the increase in student accommodation and house shares, planning permission now needs to be obtained in order to introduce new multiple occupant housing. For more information on Falmouth renting rules, read our previous blog post.

How do I apply for a licence?

Properties which now come under the new regulation will need a licence in order to continue to be lawfully rented out. It is a criminal offence to manage a HMO without a licence and can lead to a fine of up to £20,000.

Visit Cornwall Council for more information on how to apply for a HMO licence, if you haven’t already done so. They have advised landlords to apply for a licence before October 1st in order to avoid any sort of penalty. Their fee for applications received after October 1st is £1,150. The renewal fee for all licence is £862.50.

For advice on these issues, please contact Laura Noble in the Residential Property team at Coodes Solicitors on 01326 318900 or

Wed 26th Sep 2018

Laura Noble


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