see also, Additional
Licensing of HMOs was a manifesto commitment of the Government
elected in 1997, and two years later, the DETR published the Consultation
Paper Licensing of HMOs - England. Meanwhile, licensing
was introduced into Scotland in
2000 by The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing
of Houses in Multiple Occupation) Order 2000, and into Northern
Ireland early in 2004 by The Statutory Registration Scheme
Finally, later in 2004, licensing in England & Wales was required
by Part 2 of the new Housing
Act. During this period, Leeds HMO Lobby responded to the
Paper, lobbied for licensing in the Queen's
Speech, and lobbied both the Home
Energy Conservation Bill and the Housing
Bill as they progressed through Parliament.
The Housing Act 2004 provided for mandatory licensing of larger
HMOs and discretionary additional licensing of other HMOs.
In November 2004, following the Housing Act, the ODPM published
a consultation paper, Licensing in the Private Rented Sector:
on the Implementation of HMO Licensing. The National HMO
Lobby has submitted a Response
to the ODPM, as did some of its members, including Leeds
HMO Lobby (see below).
The Statutory Instruments 2006 371,
which put Part 2 of the Housing Act into effect, were laid before
Parliament on 22 February 2006. Mandatory licensing of HMOs in England
began on 6 April 2006. In November 2006, DCLG published Approval
steps for additional and selective licensing designations in England.
Peterborough City Council will be the first local authority to introduce
additional HMO licensing, when its designation
comes into effect on 1 July 2009.
The government has commissioned BRE (formerly the Building Research
Establishment) to monitor the impact of HMO Licensing. In August
2007, CLG published Evaluating the impact of HMO and Selective
Licencing: the baseline before licencing in April 2006. In
January 2009, the Lobby submitted Evidence
on HMO Licensing to BRE's second phase of research, into
the impact of licensing. On 27 January 2010, this second stage was
published by CLG in Evaluation
of the Impact of HMO Licensing and Selective Licensing.
On the same day, as he was revealing new planning
regulations on HMOs, the Minister for Housing
& Planning, John Healey MP, also announced a consultation
on delegating discretionary licensing to local authorities, General
consents for licensing schemes under Parts 2 and 3 of the Housing
Act 2004. The National HMO Lobby responded
to this consultation on 22 February. The Summary
of responses to the consultation was published on 31 March
2010, and the following day, the Minister announced
just such a general consent. (But it remains unclear whether appropriate
authorisation has been issued to local housiing authorities.) On
31 March 2011, Local Government Regulation published its Final
Report on its Discretionary Licensing Support programme 2010/11.
CLG also published a draft Guide
to the licensing and management provisions in Parts 2, 3 and 4 of
the Housing Act 2004. On 25 March 2010, Communities &
Local Government published Strategy
for seaside success: Securing the future of seaside economies,
which pointed out the value of general consents for licensing schemes
to seaside towns.
In 2011, the Cabinet Office began a
'Red Tape Challenge' to reduce bureaucracy. From 12 January
to 17 February 2012, the spotlight was turned on Housing &
Construction. The spotlight included a number of sub-categories,
one of which was the 'Private Rented Sector', which included HMO
regulations. This section attracted 59 comments, half of which (28)
were partly or entirely concerned with HMOs. Most comments came
from residents or council officers; five landlords commented. Half
of the comments (17) supported the regulations as they stood; another
seven recommended revisions. Seven thought the regulations should
be reduced (including all the landlords). On 16 January, the Lobby
posted its comment on HMO Regulations.
On 31 January 2013, the results
of the Challenge were published. There are a couple of hundred items
on the Housing & Construction list, but only five of
these refer to HMOs (nos 65, 66, 92, 93, 94), two on HMO Management
and three on Licensing of HMOs. None are to be scrapped, and two
are to be 'improved', (that is by "merging, simplifying, improving
On 30 January 2012, Oxford City Council introduced licensing
of all its HMOs. "Oxford City Council is the first council
in the country to introduce a HMO licensing scheme that covers the
whole of its area and that requires every HMO to be licensed."
On 28 February, CLG published its
Third Statement of New Regulation, which is a forward look at
which are being introduced by the Department which impact on businesses.
They are scheduled to come into force between 1 January 2012 and
30 June 2012. One of the measures included is simplifying the Houses
in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Re-licensing Process. "Whilst
retaining the existing mandatory HMO licensing provisions in the
Housing Act 2004, this measure simplifies the re-licensing process
On 6 November 2015, CLG published a technical discussion document
on Extending mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation
(HMOs) and related reforms. On 7 December 2015, the National
HMO Lobby supported the proposal to extend mandatory licensing to
all HMOs occupied by five or more people. On 18 October 2016, CLG
published a consultation paper on Houses in Multiple Occupation
and residential property licensing reforms, which again would
extend the scope of HMO licensing. On 1 December 2016, the Lobby
again supported the proposal. On 28 December 2017, the Government
published its response to its consultation on HMO licensing (begun
in 2015), Houses
in Multiple Occupation and residential property licensing reforms:
Government response: mandatory licensing will extend to
all HMOs with five or more occupants, not just those with three
storeys. On 23 February 2018, the government published new legislation
Instrument 2018 no221) extending Mandatory HMO Licensing to
all HMOs with five or more occupants, regardless of the number of
storeys; the new regime comes into force on 1 October. On 20 June
2018, the Government published guidance
to local housing authorities on the new Mandatory HMO Licensing,
which extends licensing to all HMOs with five or more occupants
(not just those with three storeys); it also sets minimum requirements
for room sizes, and requires landlords to adhere to any dedicated
council HMO refuse schemes.
The National HMO Lobby has produced a Notification Form
for residents to notify their local authority of HMOs liable to
licensing [available from the Lobby].
Propositions & Recommendations
Proposition 1 The Lobby proposes that any future
consultation on houses in multiple occupation includes representation
of communities, through the National HMO Lobby.
Proposition 2 The Lobby proposes that PRS policy
should recognise that the sector is not uniformly distributed throughout
communities, but frequently develops in small or large concentrations.
Proposition 3 The Lobby proposes that the challenge
posed to sustainability by the private rented sector be explicitly
recognised in policy development for this sector.
Proposition 4 The Lobby proposes that the wide
range of markets for HMOs be properly recognised in policy development.
Proposition 5 The Lobby proposes that the problematic
contribution of HMOs to housing provision be properly recognised
in policy development.
Question 1 The Lobby recommends that one way of
determining whether HMOs in an area are managed adequately to sustain
the community is to conduct an Amenity Audit.
Question 2 The Lobby recommends that general approval
for additional licensing should be given for any street where HMOs
exceed a specific threshold, such as 20% of properties or 25% of
Question 3 The Lobby recommends that any pertinent
conclusions drawn by the DfES Student Housing Project be used to
inform the guidance given to local authorities.
Question 4 The Lobby recommends that in order
to identify a storey, a test of ‘occupiability’ be employed:
if a floor is occupiable (for purposes of work, rest or play), then
it counts as a storey; if it is not effectively occupiable, then
it is discounted.
Question 15 The Lobby recommends that transitional
provisions be made for landlords who are members of voluntary accreditation
Question 20 The Lobby recommends that Management
Regulations should include measures to address antisocial behaviour.
Question 23 The Lobby recommends that the Accreditation
Network UK Codes be considered as a model for the production of
Codes for HMOs.
Question 54 The Lobby recommends that the Register
should include the maximum number of households or persons specified
in the licence.
Question 55 The Lobby recommends that the impact
of HMO licensing on communities be assessed (a) by reference to
selected indicators from the Egan Review, and (b) by reference to
population turnover in Output Areas where HMOs are located.
National HMO Lobby