Leeds HMO Lobby
What is a HMO?
Studentification in Leeds
Use Classes Order
Students & Community
National HMO Lobby
Leeds HMO Lobby
License the Lot!
Licensing The new Housing Act 2004 makes
new provision for licensing of the private rented sector (PRS).
(a) HMOs Sections 254-259 and Schedule 14 of the
Act define ‘house in multiple occupation’; there are numerous
qualifications and exceptions, but essentially this amounts to ‘a
house shared by three or more people who are not a family.’
(b) Licensing Three types of licensing are introduced.
1) Mandatory Licensing Part 2 of the Act requires local authorities
to license certain HMOs as specified by the government; the government
has said that this will include all HMOs which are three or more storeys,
with five or more occupants.
2) Additional Licensing Part 2 also enables local authorities
to designate areas in which additional HMOs may be licensed; LAs have
to apply to government to do so.
3) Selective Licensing Part 3 of the Act also enables LAs
to apply for powers to license all PRS housing in selected areas of
‘low demand’ (i.e. problematic areas).
(c) Register Section 232 of the Act requires LAs
to maintain a public Register of all licenses issued.
2 Leeds Leeds City Council
estimates that there are some 10,000 HMOs in the city.
(a) HMOs, under the new definition, now include
all shared student houses (though unfortunately, the planning definition
of HMO remains unchanged).
(b) Mandatory Licensing will apply to 80% (8,000)
of the city’s HMOs, in the Council’s estimate; it is
due to be introduced in Autumn 2005.
(c) Additional Licensing: the Council has said
“discretionary licensing would represent only a relatively
small increase in the number of properties to be licensed, but in
those limited cases, the cost and limited benefits may not justify
taking this approach.” The benefits locally are twofold –
1) To protect tenants: during the passage of the Act through
Parliament, there was much disagreement with the government over
its threshold for mandatory licensing: Shelter for instance argued
that smaller HMOs were frequently just as dangerous, and therefore
in need of licensing.
2) To protect the community: when mandatory licensing is
introduced, landlords may well reduce the number of occupants, to
avoid licensing; the consequence would be an increase in demand
for HMOs from those thus decanted onto the market, and thus increased
pressure on the local housing stock.
Leeds HMO Lobby therefore proposes that we license the
lot: it is essential that additional licensing of
HMOs is introduced in Leeds, and the appropriate area to designate
is the Area of Student Housing Restraint (as defined in Leeds UDP
Review), where most are located.
3 Locally The Council has
calculated that 72% of shared houses in the city are in Inner NW
Leeds (Shared Housing in Leeds report, 2001). This Area
therefore has a special interest in HMO Licensing. Leeds HMO
Lobby proposes that the Area Committee appoint a dedicated HMO Officer
for the Area (comparable to the Community Planning Officer).
The Officer’s role would include –
(a) compiling a catalogue all HMOs in Inner NW
(b) preparing an application to the government for additional
licensing in ASHORE, which extends into all four wards
of Inner NW Leeds.
(c) other duties, such as -
1) enforcing HMO licensing, in liaison with the HMO Team
& local Housing & Planning officers;
2) advising residents on HMO-related issues, such as restrictive
covenants or the development of a local housing association;
3) preparing a Special Purpose Vehicle for conversion of
surplus HMOs back to family housing.
4 April 2005
Leeds HMO Lobby