HMO Mandatory Licensing

The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 amend the criteria for mandatory licensing of HMOs. Under the Housing Act 2004 (HA2004), HMOs had to be licensed where they comprised of 3 or more storeys, occupied by 5 or more people living in two or more single households and the occupiers share basic amenities such as cooking and washing facilities. The ‘3 or more storeys’ requirement of the regulations under the HA 2004 has been removed under The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 to bring smaller HMOs within the licensing scheme and to also include purpose built flats, where there are up to two flats in the block, within the scope of mandatory licensing.

HMO Minimum Room Sizes

The Licensing of HMO (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018 amend Schedule 4 of the Housing Act 2004 to introduce minimum room sizes for HMOs used as sleeping accommodation. Landlords must not exceed the maximum number of occupants who are permitted to use each room as sleeping accommodation and must comply with any household waste storage and disposal schemes provided by the local housing authority. The conditions under the regulations require a licence holder:

(a) to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged over 10 years is not less than 6.51 square metres;

(b) to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by two persons aged over 10 years is not less than 10.22 square metres;

(c) to ensure that the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged under 10 years is not less than 4.64 square metres;

(d) to ensure that any room in the HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64 square metres is not used as sleeping accommodation.

If the local authority considers that, at the time the licence is granted, the licence holder has not complied with the conditions they can issue a licence but specify conditions and the period within which the licence holder is required to comply with the conditions. The condition period cannot exceed 18 months from the date of notification. The regulations apply to an HMO in England where a licence is granted or renewed on or after 1st October 2018.

More information is available in the Government Guidance Document: Houses in Multiple Occupation and residential property licensing reform.