Legal requirement to be licensed
It is a criminal offence to operate an HMO without a licence. Sanctions include prosecution in the magistrates’ court or civil penalty notices of up to £30,000 per offence as an alternative to prosecution.
It is also an offence if you have a licence but do not comply with the conditions of that licence. Tenants can make a claim for a rent repayment order and claim back any rent paid during the period when a property that should have been licensed was not.
HMO licensing is required by law to ensure that:
- landlords or agents are 'fit and proper persons'
- adequate management is in place and tenants are protected
- HMOs are well maintained and meet health and safety requirements
The Council can enforce standards in HMOs and take action if landlords do not co-operate.
You can view all licensed HMO properties in the Borough on the HMO Licence Public Register.