House In Multiple Occupancy

From 1st October 2018 the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 came into force.

Accordingly if you operate a House in Multiple Occupation that is let to five or more tenants you must have applied for and been granted a licence before that date.

Operating without one is a strict liability criminal offence much like driving a car without a licence. The operator will be guilty of the offence if they could not produce upon request a valid licence.

Furthermore for the first time the new piece of legislation stipulates minimum room sizes. The prescribed sizes are 6.52 sq. m for a single person and 10.23 sq. m for a couple. If a room let for sleeping doesn't meet the minimum standard the licensee would be in breach and committing an offence.

If there is any part of the HMO Licence application that has been omitted or completed incorrectly and/or there are documents missing it will be returned. If you operate a mandatory licensable HMO without one during this intervening period, you may be committing an offence.

What do I need to know? 

All properties let to five or more people, who form two or more households, are subject to mandatory licensing. There are however a number of other different definitions of HMOs and for a definitive description of your circumstances, please see the link below for further information. Whatever your circumstance if you feel that your property falls into one of the definitions of a HMO you MUST contact the Council as it may need to be inspected.

What are the conditions of the licence?

  • The property is suitable for occupation by the number of people on the application
  • The minimum standards for room sizes of 6.52 sq. m for a single person and 10.23 sq. m for a couple has been met
  • The property has adequate facilities for the number of people on the application
  • That the proposed licence holder is a fit and proper person
  • The property management is satisfactory

What conditions may be attached to the licence?

  • Provision of a gas safety certificate if not provided with the application
  • Evidence that the appliances and furnishings are in a safe condition
  • Evidence that the property has an adequate means of escape from fire
  • Requirement for additional amenities

Information/ evidence required

  • A plan of the property
  • A landlord's gas safety certificate
  • Relevant planning and building control documents
  • A current inspection report from a competent electrician
  • BS5839 test reports relating to the fire detection system (if applicable)
  • BS5266 test reports relating to the fire detection system (if applicable)

Further Information

What happens next?

Are there inspections / assessments?

Yes. An inspection to verify the application will be carried out prior to the issue of the licence.

If I don't hear from you for 56 days, can I assume it's been granted ("tacit consent")?

No. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us.

If I'm turned down, how do I appeal?

For Licence Holders or Applicants:

  • Please contact Surrey Heath Borough Council in the first instance.
  • You may appeal to a residential property tribunal.
  • Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

How long does the licence last, and what's the renewal procedure?

The licence lasts for 5 years. You will have to apply for a new licence after 5 years.