Category Archives: HMO

HMO licensing dates.

Apologies for being repetitious – but this one is important. We blogged recently on the proposed changes in the licensing rules for House in Multiple Occupation.

Although we are still awaiting confirmation (and we are trying very hard to get this) it seems that the changes might take effect more quickly than expected, with the licensees being introduced in April this year. Primary legislation is not required so the government may be able to implement the changes more quickly than we were expecting. However, there is likely to be a six month grace period, which means you can apply for a license from April, but will only start facing penalties for not possessing one from October 2018. I would stress though (please note the emphasis here) that the grace period itself is still subject to confirmation so watch this space.

I know that it’s not the best practice to put out information, without having the facts but we do need to try and raise some awareness. So if you are an HMO landlord – apologies for the lack of hard detail for now – but do please start thinking about this issue. April (or even October) is closer than you think and you might need to start factoring license costs (even if annoyingly we don’t yet have any figures for what they might be) into your immediate financial planning. And you should definitely be thinking about room sizes right away if you have an HMO with smaller rooms or are in the process of planning one. The standard will be:

Rooms used for sleeping by 1 adult will have to be no smaller than 6.51 square metres, and those slept in by 2 adults will have to be no smaller than 10.22 square metres. Rooms slept in by children of 10 years and younger will have to be no smaller than 4.64 square metres.

There is a very good article looking at the background of the room size issue here . I have to say that as this link is not to an official council or government website – we can’t vouch for accuracy and do not necessarily agree with the author’s opinions – but you will probably find it worth read.



Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) … Major changes in regulations on minimum room sizes and licensing.


Following a public consultation, the government is looking to introduce two significant changes for HMOs. At the moment, these changes are still only proposals and would require parliamentary approval, but the National Landlords Association believes these are very definite t intentions and that the government is looking to implement them as soon as possible in 2017. Primary legislation would not be needed – it would just be a question of amending existing regulations, so the process could be completed very quickly.

The proposed changes are:

    • Make licensing compulsory for all HMOs where five or more people in at least two separate households are resident. Currently, HMOs only require a license if they are on three or more floors. Removing the stipulation about the number of floors will mean substantially more HMOs would need to be licensed. This will mean additional costs for landlords and closer level of inspection. A license in Sandwell currently costs £780.20 per HMO. Although here are discounts for accredited landlords members of the National Landlord Association or members of the Residential Landlords Association. There are also discounts for landlords holding multiple licenses. Licenses in other council areas can be substantially more expensive.
  • Introducing a minimum room size. This would be 6.52sq-m for one person or 10.23sq-m for two people. Breaching this rule could mean a penalty of £30,000 for the landlord. No – that’s not a typo – thirty thousand pounds!

At the moment, it has to be stressed that these are still only proposals. Once we receive any details or anything concrete, I will of course let you know.