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Midlands council reveals start date for £1,000 a property HMO licences

hmo licencing

More HMO landlords in the West Midlands borough of Sandwell face paying £1,000 for a licence after the council gave the go-ahead to an extended additional scheme to go live on October 1st 2024.

An estimated 3,000 smaller HMOs will need a five-year licence when the scheme comes into force on 1st October. However, few of them put up much of a fight; only 17 responded to a council consultation and of those, half agreed with the proposals. However, three-quarters thought the proposed fee was unreasonable.

Some voiced fears landlords could sell up due to the extra financial pressure, causing a shortage of houses and HMOs in the private rented sector, or felt that the council should target resources on finding criminal landlords.


A council report discussed by its cabinet (pictured) explains that the authority aims to improve housing conditions, reduce significant persistent problems caused by anti-social behaviour, including modern-day slavery and human trafficking, encourage an increase in good landlords and help eliminate rogue landlords.

It points to the consistent 800+ complaints each year to its private rented sector and housing standards team which it says indicates that while enforcement action has been undertaken, “it has not considerably reduced the level of complaints, thus suggesting a need to move to the more proactive approach associated with additional licensing”.

To deal with the extra admin, it will double the number of staff dealing with the extra HMO applications from two to four. The council agreed to introduce similar measures on HMOs in West Bromwich in 2022. It reports that the PRS has grown from 5% in 2001 to 18% in 2021.

Poorly managed

Councillor Vicki Smith (pictured), Sandwell’s Cabinet Member for Housing & Sustainable Development says: “We want to improve housing conditions and make sure that landlords are providing good quality, safe HMOs.

“While we know that many landlords already do this, there are still too many properties that are poorly managed and are in unsafe and unsatisfactory conditions.

“We will work with landlords to see that their property is up to standard and ensure it is safe to live in for tenants, and that all the licensing conditions and management regulations are followed.”

Main image: Google Streetview

Read more about HMO licencing.


Hmo licencing