Private rented property licensing

Extension to mandatory houses in multiple occupation licensing

Under new national rules which came into force on 1 October 2018, mandatory licensing - previously limited to properties that were three or more storeys tall - was extended to cover almost all houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) that are occupied by five or more people and where there is some sharing of facilities, regardless of the number of storeys.

You will need a mandatory HMO licence if you are a landlord or managing agent of a rented property that is occupied by five or more people in two or more households that share (or lack) toilet, washing or cooking facilities.

Multi-occupied flats in purpose-built blocks are exempt from mandatory licensing as long as the block contains three or more self-contained flats.

New HMO licensing conditions - applies to mandatory and additional licences

Space standards

The new regulations include the introduction of the following national minimum bedroom space standards:

  • the floor area of any room in a HMO used by 1 person aged over 10 years must not be less than 6.51m²
  • the floor area of any room in a HMO used by 2 persons aged over 10 years must not be less than 10.22m²
  • the floor area of any room in a HMO used by 1 person aged under 10 years must not be less than 4.64m²
  • any room in a HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64m² must not be used as sleeping accommodation

Floor area with a ceiling height of less than 1.5m cannot be counted in any total floor area calculation.

Waste storage and disposal provisions

Landlords of licensed HMOs will also need to ensure that they provide adequate waste disposal and storage facilities for their tenants.

Transitionary arrangements

There is a transitional period to ensure landlords have time to comply with the new standards.

  • If your property is currently licensed under mandatory or additional licensing schemes the existing licence remains valid and the new licensing rules will apply from the renewal date.
  • If your property is licensed under selective licensing scheme and it now meets the requirements for the mandatory HMO licence, your property will be passported into the mandatory scheme but the new licensing rules will only apply from the renewal date.
  • If you have applied for a licence and your licence has not yet been granted, the new licensing rules apply.
  • If your property does not meet the required bedroom space standards and is over-occupied, the council can allow you up to 18 months to comply with the new requirements.