Apply or renew a House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) mandatory licence

On this page you will find information about applying for a mandatory licence. You can also make an application for an additional or section 257 licence.

 

What buildings are included?

  • Properties with five or more people who form two or more households. This includes both shared houses and bedsits where occupants share amenities. The property must be their main residence.
  • Flats that are occupied by five or more people who form two or more households and are within blocks of non-purpose-built flats. This will include flats above and below commercial premises and flats in converted buildings, and other flats as described in the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018.
  • A converted building which contains more than one unit of living accommodation but at least one of the units is not contained behind its entrance door. For example, where someone has to cross the common stairway to access a facility such as a toilet.
  • Properties with fewer than 5 bedrooms where some occupants share a room and 5 or more persons live in the HMO.

Preparing to apply

We’ve put together details of what you will need to include with your application and details of the different licence period criteria so you can prepare to apply. You can also view the application checklist here.

When submitting your application you will need to supply:

  • A floor plan showing the room sizes in metric units. You’ll need to label the usage of every room including bathrooms and ensuites and show the location of smoke/heat detectors, fire blankets and carbon monoxide alarms. This plan does not need to be drawn by a professional.
  • A fire risk assessment (FRA) – if you don’t have a current FRA at the time of your application you will be issued with a 1 year licence and a special condition will be added to your licence requiring you to get an FRA for your HMO.
  • Safety certificates – all current and satisfactory at the time of application
    • Gas safety certificate (if relevant).
    • A satisfactory Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
    • Fire Alarm Test Certificate (if relevant)
    • Emergency lighting (if installed) – annual check
    • A PAT certificate for any appliances supplied by the landlord. If the items are new, then a copy of receipts will be sufficient.

Optional items

The following documents are optional but are required to meet the criteria for a five year licence.

  • EPC Certificate
  • Details of accreditation if you are an accredited landlord or agent (copy of certificate or reference number) with an accrediting body recognised by the council (Note: to qualify for a five year licence you will require proof that you are accredited with a recognised accreditation body)

Fit and proper person

The main criteria for being granted an HMO licence is to be a “fit and proper” person to hold a licence. We may decide you are not fit to manage an HMO if you have:

  • committed any offences relating to fraud, dishonesty, violence, drugs, human trafficking, or firearms.
  • committed offences listed in Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • practiced unlawful discrimination in carrying out business.
  • contravened any provisions in housing or tenancy law.
  • been involved in anti-social behaviour.

You will be asked to sign a declaration as part of your application process, and we may seek more information from you as part of our checks.

How do I renew my mandatory licence?

To renew your mandatory HMO licence you are able to either;

  1. Complete the online application.
  2. Book a face to face appointment with one of our administration team at the Civic Offices to support you in the application process.
  3. Provide us with the relevant information and permission for us to complete the application on your behalf.

To book a face to face appointment or to provide the information needed for us to complete the application on your behalf, please contact us on 02392 841 659 or email hmo.licensing@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

How long will licences be issued for?

Licences will be issued for one, two and a half, or five years depending on your circumstances. This section shows the criteria for each licence period.

Criteria to get a two-and-a-half year licence:

  • No fit and proper person concerns
  • For renewals, any conditions from previous licence have been complied with
  • No more than 1 justified complaint in the last 12 months related to the applicant or proposed licence holder.
  • Application submitted as soon as required or, for renewals, 14 days before expiry of the current licence.
  • Safety certificates submitted with application (all current and satisfactory at the time of application)
  • Planning permission or a certificate of lawful use for C4 or Sui Generis use, or evidence of historic use of the property as an HMO (you will be asked to sign a declaration for the planning status of your property, and you may be asked to provide evidence upon request)
  • Stage two fee paid as requested.

Criteria for a five-year licence

  • You’ll need to meet all the criteria for a two-and-a-half year licence.
  • No justified complaints in the last 12 months
  • Accreditation with PCC approved organisations (you can view further details on approved schemes)
  • Provide us with a valid energy performance certificate (EPC) dated within the last 10 years (must be band E or higher unless the property is exempt), even if the property doesn’t legally require an EPC.

Issues that would lead to a one-year licence

Where any of the following issues are identified a one year licence will be issued:

  • Fit and proper person concerns
  • For renewals, there are conditions from the previous licence that have not been complied with
  • More than one justified complaint in the last 12 months related to the applicant or proposed licence holder.
  • Application not submitted when required or for renewals, 14 days after expiry of current licence.
  • Safety certificates not submitted with application (or they are not current and/or satisfactory)
  • Fire risk assessment not submitted with application.
  • Planning permission not granted (for C4 or Sui Generis use or there is no certificate of lawful use) or unable to demonstrate historic use of the HMO.
  • All building work requiring building control approval not properly certified.

How much will my licence cost?

Find out how much your licence would cost by visiting our HMO mandatory licensing fees page.

Enforcement

Failure to apply for a licence is an offence under Section 72 of the Housing Act 2004, which upon summary conviction may render a person liable to an unlimited fine.

An application may also be made to the residential property service for a rent repayment order. Should an order be made, there may be a requirement to repay housing benefit paid to an occupier of the house in multiple occupation while the property was unlicensed.

A person may also be liable to a civil penalty under Section 249A of up to £30,000.

For further information on how the private sector housing team enforce its regulatory powers in the private sector, read our enforcement policy.

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