Leeds HMO Lobby


Leeds HMO Lobby

What is a HMO?

The Lobby

Local Action
Policy Papers
Studentification in Leeds

National Action
Use Classes Order
HMO Licensing
Students & Community

National HMO Lobby

Leeds HMO Lobby



License the Lot!

1 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 Leeds;
(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
email: hmolobby@hotmail.com website: www.hmolobby.org.uk/leeds