Private sector housing

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.

You can find more information on HMOs here. If you are concerned that a property is operating without an HMO licence you can report it by contacting the Council or emailing [email protected].