Landlords of homes in multiple occupation (HMOs) in Portsmouth are being asked to make sure they apply for a new licence before the grace period ends on 1 December.

Additional licensing was introduced on 1 September by Portsmouth City Council to complement existing HMO licensing and make sure tenants of smaller HMOs are safe and live in decent conditions. It governs minimum acceptable accommodation and management standards, as well as gas, fire and electrical safety requirements. Landlords have until 1 December to apply.

This new licence means there are now three types of licence HMO landlords can apply for depending on how many people live in the HMO, or if the property is converted into flats.

  • Additional licence – for HMOs of three or four people
  • Mandatory licence – for HMOs of five or more people
  • 257 licence – if the property has been converted into flats, does not comply with 1991 building regulations, and two thirds or more of the flats are rented out.

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

The grace period for applications ends on 1 December 2023 and landlords must apply by this date. Landlords that submit their applications late will face penalties of up to £30,000 and a shorter licence term. Please contact the team if you are unsure whether you need to apply or need any assistance with your application.

Cllr Ian Holder, Cabinet Member for Safety in the Community said: “We have already received a good amount of applications for the new licence but we know there are many more landlords that are yet to apply. I want to urge people not to wait until the last minute, but to apply sooner. We have an excellent team in place who will work with you to make sure your application is the best it can be and help you avoid unnecessary penalties. If in doubt, get in contact and talk to someone about your application.”

Resources to help landlords apply and the application form are available on the webpage on the licensing webpage. Landlords can also contact the licensing team on 02392 841 659 or by email at hmo.licensing@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.