Doomsday is upon us. Yes, that’s right: in just under two weeks it will be 1st October 2018. As any eagle-eyed property investor knows, that can only mean one thing: the date from which the new HMO licensing rules will come into force.

The good news is that they’re not as complicated as many people would have you think. The bad news is that there’s still a tonne of misinformation being bandied around, making it difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Luckily, we’ve created a short video to explain all:

What’s changing?

Prior to 1st October 2018, you only need a HMO license if all three of the following apply: there’s 5 or more people living in a property, the property forms two or more households, (e.g. the people living their aren’t all part of one family) and the property is 3 or more storeys.

The only thing that’s changing is that as of 1st October, properties will need a HMO license regardless of the number of storeys. For example, a 2 storey property with 5 or more people living there who form 2 or more households will HAVE to possess a HMO license.

Getting a HMO license

If you own a property that will need a HMO license from 1st October, you need to submit an application for a license before 1st October.

HMO license application forms can be found on the ‘HMO’ or ‘Housing Standards’ section of the council website where the HMO is situated.

If you’re in the middle of completing a HMO that is applicable for a license, you only need to apply for a license once the project is complete.

What if I don’t get a license in time?

You can be fined a large sum for breaking the rules. Get one!

Do I still need planning?

HMO licensing and planning are completely separate things. Typically for an HMO, you’ll need planning in any of the following situations: you have 7 or more occupants, the building you’re converting is a commercial one,  or you’re converting a C3 residential building into a C4 dwelling, e.g. in an Article 4 area or certain conservation areas.

Other types of licensing

In addition to mandatory licensing (HMO licensing), there exists two other types of licensing: selective licensing and additional licensing.

Additional licensing is licensing introduced on an HMO by a council, regardless of whether the HMO is applicable for mandatory licensing. For example it could be applied upon a house of 2 storeys with 3 people living there.

It is applied on a council by council basis, so you would have to check the licensing requirements of the council where the HMO is located.

Selective licensing is licensing introduced on all rental properties by councils in an attempt to manage the quality and condition of the rental properties. Once again, you would have to check with the council where the HMO is located.

Further reading

legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/221/made – the government’s new HMO licensing legislation.