Changes to landlord licensing scheme rules are now in force.
Effective 1 October 2018, mandatory HMO licensing has been extended to most Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) that are occupied by five or more people who are not all related, and where there is some sharing of facilities. The scheme was previously restricted to properties that were three or more storeys in height.
It’s important to note that government have excluded multi-occupied self-contained flats within purpose-built blocks that contain three or more self-contained flats. These flats will not require a licence under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme even if occupied by five or more people (although they could be included within an additional or selective licensing scheme).
As an example, a self-contained flat occupied by five unrelated people needs a mandatory HMO licence if it is on the ground floor of a two-storey converted house but not if it is on the twentieth floor of a purpose built high rise block.
These new rules are expected to bring 160,000 to 180,000 properties within the scope of licensing for the first time. There is no grace period, and all applications should have been submitted by 1 October 2018.
You will need to pay a separate application fee for each property that requires a licence and the fee must be paid at the time the application is submitted.
HMO licence fees vary significantly from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds. Research by London Property Licensing has found the average HMO licence application fee for a three-storey five-bedroom property in London now stands at £1,151 having increased by 28% over the last four years.