Mandatory HMO Licensing

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From 1 October 2018 any Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) that are:

  • occupied by five or more persons who form two or more separate households
  • and who share basic amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet

will require a licence.

Application for a HMO Licence

The HMO Application Guidance Notes [PDF, 634Kb] and HMO Amenity Standards Guide [PDF, 1Mb] provide information and guidance on applying for a licence.

The Summary of main changes to the revised Amenity Standards [PDF, 413Kb] explains the main changes made to this revised document in December 2019.

You can complete the HMO Licence Application form [PDF, 623Kb] or you can request a printed application form from us by emailing housing@northlincs.gov.uk or calling 01724 297000.  (Some of these documents may not be fully accessible. If you need any document in an alternative format, please contact: Housing@northlincs.gov.uk)

Applications to renew an existing HMO licence should be submitted two months before the existing licence expires.

You must also provide the following with your HMO licence application:

  • The appropriate HMO licence fee (see section below entitled HMO Licensing Fees). Please remember that the fee covers up to 5 rooms only, there is an extra fee per room after this.
  • A floor plan of the property indicating room sizes, location of the bathroom, toilet and kitchen facilities plus the position of smoke alarms, emergency lighting units and fire doors
  • A current gas safety certificate, renewed annually (if the property has a gas supply). Any application received without this certificate will be invalid. Failure to provide an appropriate gas safety certificate within 14 days of request may result either in legal proceedings or a refused application.
  • EPC
  • A valid electrical test certificate. If you do not have one, you will be asked to supply one within a specified period of time as a condition of the licence.
  • A portable appliance test certificate for any electrical equipment you supply as part of the tenancy. If you do not have a certificate, you will be asked to supply one within a specified period of time as a condition of the licence.
  • A declaration that all upholstered furniture supplied complies with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988.   To comply with the regulations, your furniture must:
    • Carry a permanent and non-detachable manufacturer’s label
    • Have fire resistant filling material
    • Pass the ‘match resistance test’ as prescribed
    • Pass the ‘cigarette test’ as prescribed
  • Details of what fire precautions currently exist in the property, including the location of any fire doors and smoke alarms.  If your property does not comply with required standards you will be required to install additional fire safety measures within a specified period of time as a condition of the licence
  • A written statement for each occupier of the terms on which they occupy the property, such as a tenancy agreement.
  • Evidence of current Public Liability Insurance cover
  • A Basic Disclosure Document (DBS check) for the purpose of the fit and proper person test.  No more than 2 months old.
  • A relevant Completion Certificate from Building Control for any adaptations or alterations made to the property.

Under the Housing Act 2004 Local Authorities may require a HMO Licence application to be accompanied by a fee fixed by the Authority.

HMO licensing fee procedure

There will be two stages to the mandatory HMO Licensing Process and fees for new applications from 1 October 2018 are as follows:

HMO Licensing Fees  Fee Extra Room Fee
Stage 1 Fee relates to processing the initial application – fee covers up to 5 rooms only (see extra room fee for each room after this) £470.00 £24.00
Stage 2 Fee relates to  ongoing administration of the licensing scheme – fee covers up to 5 rooms only (see extra room fee for each room after this) £370.00 £49.00
Total First Application Fee (stage 1 plus stage 2) £840.00 £73.00

Accredited Landlords will be given a 15% reduction on fees (see table below). There are significant benefits to being an accredited landlord. Further information on Landlord Accreditation is available on the website of North Lincolnshire Council or by contacting the council’s Environmental Health and Housing Team.

Accredited Landlord – HMO Licensing Fees (15% reduction)  Fee Extra Room Fee
Stage 1 Fee relates to processing the initial application – fee covers up to 5 rooms only (see extra room fee for each room after this) £400.00 £20.00
Stage 2 Fee relates to  ongoing administration of the licensing scheme – fee covers up to 5 rooms only (see extra room fee for each room after this) £314.00 £42.00
Total First Application Fee (stage 1 plus stage 2) £714.00 £62.00

We aim to process all valid HMO licence applications as quickly as possible. The length of the application process will depend on circumstances, including whether we need to inspect the property to confirm it is suitable for licensing.

Tacit approval is not automatically given to any application for a HMO Licence.  In the interest of public safety, each licence application must be given full consideration by the council before it can be approved.

Once a HMO licence application has been approved, the HMO licence will be valid for up to five years but may be for a shorter period, depending upon circumstances.

In some cases the HMO licence may not be granted for the full five years, for example if there are any concerns over the management of the property or if there has been a history of problems of anti-social behaviour associated with the property.

Also, if you fail to make a timely application for a licence then the period of time that the property has been operating as a licensable HMO without a HMO licence may be reduced. This is to ensure equity with those landlords who have made timely applications

Attached to a licence will be North Lincolnshire Council’s HMO Licence Conditions – please see the following section for full details of these.

The standard conditions include provisions that require the licence holder to comply with any scheme which is provided by the local housing authority to the licence holder and which relates to the storage and disposal of household waste at the HMO pending collection.

In some circumstances, we may also apply additional licence conditions that:

  • Restrict the use or occupation of parts of the HMO
  • Require you to take steps to deal with anti-social behaviour if there are any reported problems
  • Require you to improve the condition of the property and its contents, such as furniture, bathroom, toilet and kitchen facilities
  • Require you to carry out works to make the house is suitable for occupation by the intended maximum number of persons or households within a specified timeframe
  • Require the licence holder or manager to attend an approved training course.

Changes to the property

If you have increased the number of bedrooms in a house in multiple occupancy (HMO), you will need to apply for a change to the licence known as a variation. The alterations you have made may mean that additional facilities are required.

Changes in managing agent or licence holder

If the managing agent is the HMO licence holder, the licence will need to be revoked and the new managing agent will have to apply for a licence in their own right.

If the managing agent is not the licence holder, the licence will need to be changed to show the new manager.

If the managing agent is not the licence holder or manager, you need to write to us, and we will update our records. You will not be charged for this.

Selling the property

If you are the HMO licence holder, then the existing licence will be revoked by the council. The new owner will have to apply for a licence in their own right if it is to continue as an HMO.

If you are not the licence holder, then the licence holder may apply for a change to the existing licence, known as a variation. This is particularly important if you were identified as the manager of the property, but will not continue to act as the manager.

Converting the property

You may either:

  • Request in writing that the licence be revoked, or
  • Allow the licence to run until it expires then notify the council that it is no longer required.

Section 232 of the Housing Act 2004 requires all Local Authorities to establish and maintain a register of:

  • All licenses granted under Part 2 and 3 of the Act (HMO and selective licensing)
  • All temporary exemption notices served
  • All management orders made

Access to the Public Register can be found here.  For further detailed information about the licensing conditions for any particular property please contact Housing on 01724 297000 or email housing@northlincs.gov.uk

One of the main aims of Mandatory HMO licensing schemes is to make sure that for each rented property there is a person or company (the licence holder) who is legally accountable for it. The licence puts responsibility on the licence holder for the proper management of the rented property, for preventing nuisance or antisocial behaviour by the residents and for keeping the property safe and in good order. Every licence contains legally binding conditions that govern these issues.

1. Who is legally responsible for offences under the Housing Act 2004 where a property is registered as a HMO?

Schedule 1 part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 requires in cases where the premises are a HMO or licensed under selective licensing, enforcement action must be taken against the holder of the licence.

2. Who is legally responsible for offences under the Housing Act 2004 where a property is not registered as a HMO?

Where the premises are not licensed under selective licensing, or are an unlicensed HMO, then the action must be taken against the person having control, or the person managing the premises.

3. How does the council decide who is the person having control or managing the premises?

Section 263 of the Housing Act 2004 provides that a ‘person having control’ includes the person who receives the rack-rent as agent or trustee of another person. The ‘person managing’ includes a person who receives rents or other payments as agent or trustee.

4. What are the implications for a HMO Licence where my company is registered off shore?

Where the owner is offshore-registered, the local authority will consider the option of taking action against the person having control or managing the premises, as the owner may well have been required to appoint managing agents to collect the rent and manage the premises. Management arrangements must be satisfactory and the licence holder must be a fit and proper person.

If as a landlord you live abroad or your business is registered abroad you will need to think carefully about whether or not you are able to manage the property adequately in order that you meet the requirements of the Housing Act 2004. The evidence you have will then need to be submitted with any HMO application in order that the council can consider whether it is appropriate to grant the Licence.

5. I am a managing agent. Will I be taking a risk if I agree to hold the licence for my overseas client?

You will take on legal liability for complying with the licence conditions or receiving statutory notices from the Council. But you can minimise that risk by making sure there will be robust management arrangements in place before you sign your contract with the property owner. We advise that you scrutinise the licence conditions in advance and determine exactly what is needed for you to comply in full over the term of the licence. For example, among other things there need to be arrangements for:

  • Dealing with emergencies inside and outside office hours;
  • Efficiently carrying out repairs and improvements to the property if a defect occurs or if the council identify hazards (including arrangements for funding such works)
  • Addressing complaints of nuisance to other properties or of antisocial behaviour by the tenants.

6. If I become the licence holder on behalf of an overseas landlord, what happens if something goes wrong? Will the Council take legal action against me?

The council will follow its Enforcement Policy and if appropriate to do so enforcement action would be taken against the licence holder as required by Schedule 1 part 1 of the Housing Act 2004.

7. I am an overseas landlord and I have appointed an agent to hold the licence for my property. What happens if I want to change agent?

Unfortunately the law forbids the transfer of the licence from one person to another, so you will have to apply for a new licence. For this reason you will want to discuss the proposed management arrangements fees, etc. with the agent before signing the contract to make sure that you are completely happy with them.


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