The Council operates a Mandatory HMO licensing scheme. Most* landlords of HMOs that have five or more occupiers forming two or more households require a licence. This previously only applied to properties with three or more stories (including habitable basements and attics) but from 1 October 2018 HMOs with five or more occupiers forming two or more households regardless of the number of storeys became subject to HMO licensing. This means that:
- HMOs with five or more occupiers forming two or more households
- Flats within a converted building, where the flat itself is an HMO with five or more occupiers forming two or more households, and
- Flats within purpose built blocks with either one or two flats, where the flat is an HMO with five or more occupiers forming two or more households, will require an HMO licence.
If you own or manage a licensable HMO and have not applied for a licence you must do so immediately. Failure to licence an HMO is a criminal offence which could lead to an unlimited fine or a financial penalty of up to £30,000. You could also be subject to a Rent Repayment Order for the period that the property was unlicensed.
Derby City Council does not currently operate any Additional HMO Licensing or Selective Licensing schemes.
*There are some exemptions from licensing. For example properties managed by Local Authorities and Registered Housing Providers such as Housing Associations do not require a licence.
You can apply online to licence a house in multiple occupation.
An HMO licence will generally run for 5 years but we may issue a licence for a shorter period in some circumstances. For example:
- If we have concerns over the management arrangements
- If there has been the need for previous intervention by the Council
- If there has been a history of non-compliance or
- If planning permission is needed for the building but has not been obtained
a shorter licence period can be issued. You must also apply to renew your licence before the current one expires.
In more serious cases or where we consider the applicant is not a 'fit and proper person' to hold a licence we may refuse to grant one. We will normally only refuse to grant a licence if we think there are serious difficulties about the HMO, its management, the fitness of the applicant to be involved in its management or if the applicant is subject to a Banning Order. In such cases alternative licensing and management arrangements will need to be put in place. If arrangements for the satisfactory management of an HMO cannot be put in place and there is no prospect of the HMO being licensed within a reasonable time the Council may make an Interim Management Order which allows us to step in and manage the property. The order can last for up to a year until suitable permanent arrangements can be put in place. If the order expires and the issue has not been resolved we can then make a Final Management Order which can last for up to five years, and can be renewed.
Applications for licenses and renewals must be accompanied by the correct fee. Our fees are detailed here: Mandatory HMO Licence Fees and Charges
Due to a recent legal decision the fee must now be paid in two parts - the first part is payable with the application and second part is payable within 21 days from when you receive your draft licence. If the second part of the fee is not paid we cannot issue the full licence.
We aim to consider all valid applications for an HMO licence within 90 days. A valid application must include all the information and certificates requested and the correct fee. Incomplete applications and those not accompanied by the correct fee will not be accepted. If we are unable to consider the application within 90 days we will inform you of the reasons why and state what the extended time period will be.
Once a valid application or renewal is received and we are able to consider the application, we will usually arrange an inspection of the property and then prepare a draft licence and a 'Proposal Notice'. There is a 21 day consultation period and if you disagree with any conditions on the draft licence you can make representation against the conditions to us. If this happens we may amend the licence as requested or reject the representation.
The actual licence and a 'Decision Notice' is then issued. There is a further right of appeal to the First Tier Tribunal against any conditions put on the licence. This must be done within 28 days of us issuing of the Decision Notice and licence. The licence comes into force after this time period if there is no appeal.
For further information in connection with licensing:
From 1 October 2018 the following measures regarding minimum sizes for rooms used as sleeping accommodation will be included as mandatory licensing conditions:
- The floor area for any room used as sleeping accommodation by a single person aged under 10 years is not to be less than 4.64m2
- The floor area for any room used as sleeping accommodation by a single person aged over 10 years is not to be less than 6.51m2
- The floor area for any room used as sleeping accommodation by two people aged over 10 years is not to be less than 10.22m2
Communal space in other parts of the HMO cannot be used to compensate for rooms smaller than the prescribed minimum. These mandatory room size conditions are the statutory minimum below which rooms cannot be used as sleeping accommodation and are not intended to be the optimal room size. Local Housing Authorities will continue to have discretion to set their own higher standards. For our space guidelines please refer to our Amenity Guide for HMOs
The new licence conditions will also require landlords and agents to have appropriate arrangements in place for the storage and disposal of household waste.
If you would like to know more about how we administer HMO licensing within the city, please email the Housing Standards Team or phone 01332 640764.