Guide to HMO licensing
Larger HMOs can be difficult to manage so can often have poorer physical and management standards than other privately rented properties.
As HMOs are the only housing option for some people, the government considers that they must be properly regulated.
Anyone who owns or manages an HMO which falls within the mandatory licensing provisions must apply to the Council for a licence.
All licences will specify the maximum number of people who may live in the HMO as well as the permitted occupancy of each bedroom. All licenses include the following mandatory conditions:
- A valid and current gas safety certificate, renewed annually.
- Proof that all electrical appliances and furniture are kept in a safe condition.
- Provide each occupier with a written statement of the terms on which they occupy the property (i.e. a tenancy agreement).
- Provision of smoke alarms on each storey used as living accommodation, maintenance of same, supplying on demand, and a declaration as to their condition and positioning.
- Provision of a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance, maintenance of same and supplying on demand, and a declaration as to their condition and positioning.
- Provision of sufficient refuse and recycling bins and regular scheduled bin collections.
The council may also apply additional conditions to the license, based on the circumstances.
A licence will normally last for a maximum of five years.
Licences are not transferable. If the property is sold within five years and the new owner continues to operate it as a licensable HMO, they will need to make a new application.
Prosecutions and fines
It is a criminal offence if the landlord or person in control of the property fails to apply for a licence where this is mandatory or, allows the property to be occupied by more people than are permitted under the licence.
If a criminal offence is found, the landlord or person in control would be subject to an unlimited fee. In addition, contravention of any of the licence conditions can result in a fine up to £5,000.
As an alternative to prosecution for not having a licence, the local authority can issue a civil penalty notice of up to £30,000.
Legislation for HMOs
HMOs are regulated by several pieces of legislation, which determine licensing arrangements and management standards together with amenity and fire safety requirements. The enforcing authority for fire safety standards in all HMOs in Warrington is Warrington Borough Council.
Although the council is only required to licence larger HMOs, the legislation relating to management, amenity and fire standards applies to all HMOs.
Copies of all HMO Regulations can be accessed through legislation.gov.uk
Apply for a HMO licence
You can apply using one of the below options: