Portsmouth City Council has introduced a new way of applying for licences for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), including a new application form.

HMO landlords can now apply for all types of HMO licences from a one-stop-shop website. Apply for an HMO licence – Portsmouth City Council

There are three types of licence that 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.

Landlords applying for additional licences need to have applied by 1 December 2023. The application process opened on the 1 September 2023 and the three-month grace period comes to an end on the 1 December 2023. Landlords that have not started their application are urged not to delay.

The additional licensing team are here to support landlords every step of the way and want to work with all landlords. Landlords that need help with their applications will be able to continue accessing the support provided by the HMO licensing team even after the 1 December 2023.

There are licencing application support sessions at the Civic Offices on Thursday 30 November and Friday 1 December this week, and Monday 4, Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 December next week.

Landlords can book a one-hour session by visiting the housing webpages – Landlord licensing application support sessions – Portsmouth City Council

The team is also contactable for advice and guidance on 023 9284 1659 or by emailing hmo.licensing@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Whilst the team will look to enforce where landlords or agents are deliberately looking to evade licensing or not fully comply with the scheme, the team do want to support landlords to enable them to comply with licensing and will continue to do so and advise landlords through the process.

Applications for mandatory licences can now also be made on the new website and landlords can renew their licences when needed. From 1 December 2023, a new criteria for licences will be in place.

For all the licencing schemes, landlords and agents who are compliant with council requirements, manage their properties well and can meet a set of criteria will be eligible for a cheaper, longer licence.

This means the council will be able to dedicate more time to less well performing landlords or agents to help them improve if they are issued with a shorter licence.

Cllr Ian Holder, Cabinet Member for Safety in the Community said: “The way we’re licencing HMOs is designed to recognise landlords that comply with our requirements, giving us more time to work with landlords who need our help. I’d encourage landlords to get in touch with the team if they need any help at all, we’re here to help you get the best out of the new system.”

The council has added information to the website to help landlords understand which licence to apply for and find out more about the licence periods and the criteria for them Apply for an HMO licence – Portsmouth City Council

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

Whatever licence you are applying for, there is no need to pay someone to make your applications for you. The process is designed to be easy to follow and if you get stuck at any point, need help or advice, or would like a one-to-one appointment, our friendly team is here to help and can be contacted on 023 9284 1659 or by emailing hmo.licensing@portsmouthcc.gov.uk