We're asking shared home landlords in Portsmouth to make sure they're ready to apply for a new licence, ahead of applications opening next week

Currently, the law requires homes in multiple occupation (HMOs) with five or more tenants to have a licence. This ensures properties meet minimum acceptable accommodation and management standards, as well as gas, fire and electrical safety requirements.

From 1 September however, we’re introducing additional licensing to help ensure tenants of smaller HMOs are also safe and live in decent conditions.

Landlords can submit applications from 1 September, and will have until 1 December to do so.

These changes mean there’s now three types of licences for HMO landlords to apply for. They depend on how many people live in the HMO, or if the property has been converted into flats.

  • Additional licence – for HMOs of three or four people
  • Mandatory licence – for HMOs of five or more people
  • 257 licence – for properties that’ve been converted into flats, do not comply with 1991 building regulations, and which two thirds or more of the flats in the property are rented out. Some buildings will require a 257 licence in addition to either an additional or mandatory licence.

We’ve put together a variety of resources to help landlords get ready to apply. These include checklists of documents and details of the licences available.

There’s also some helpful videos which explain the application process and answers to frequently asked questions.

The scheme is set up to encourage best practice from landlords, with longer licencing terms and cheaper fees available for those that comply with certain conditions.

Cllr Ian Holder, Cabinet Member for Safety in the Community said:

“We know we have many good landlords in Portsmouth, and understand the importance of shared homes in the city.

Last year we consulted with the public on these licence changes and have taken the feedback into account.

We have an excellent team in place who will work with landlords to provide the information needed. We also understand that compliant, safe and decent accommodation is a win for everyone – landlord and tenant alike.”

Where do I apply from?

The application form will be available from 1 September our website.

Landlords can also contact our licensing team on 02392 841 659 or by email at hmo.licensing@portsmouthcc.gov.uk