The UK’s largest additional licensing scheme for HMO properties has started in London covering some 9,000 properties.

Like many other local authorities in London and beyond, Westminster Council has moved to include HMOs of all sizes across the borough rather than just less common larger ones.

This means that from 30th August onwards landlords and letting agents operating HMO properties with three or more people who are not from one household with shared facilities will need to obtain a licence for the property.

From that date onwards, the number of HMOs requiring a licence is expected to jump from 300 to approximately 9,000.

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Fees for the scheme are pricey by UK standards – landlords and letting agents must pay a £705 fee on application for the five-year-long scheme and a further £270 once the application has been approved, or £795 in total.

Accreditation discount

A discount of 10% is available for landlords who are accredited with the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme.

A higher fee is charged for properties within what Westminster classes as Section 257 HMOs. These are buildings that have been converted into flats where more than a third of the flats are rented out, or if the building does not comply with the 1991 Building Regulations or later regulations that applied if the building was converted after 1 June 1992.

The council wants to ensure those licensing a property realise that it must be the ‘person having control’ of the property which is normally whoever receives the rent.

This has caused confusion in the past, and led some letting agencies to believe that it is the landlord, and not they who must obtain an HMO licence.

Landlords can expect to be reported by tenants if they don’t have a licence – Westminster launched an online ‘snooping tool’ a year ago.



2 COMMENTS

  1. I have studied the legislation and think the capitalised word ‘OR’ in this article is wrong or at least misleading.

    From the article:
    A higher fee is charged for properties within what Westminster classes as Section 257 HMOs. These are buildings that have been converted into flats where more than a third of the flats are rented out, OR if the building does not comply with the 1991 Building Regulations or later regulations that applied if the building was converted after 1 June 1992. because of the capitalised AND in the legislation below.

    From the legislation see capitalised AND

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/257

    257HMOs: certain converted blocks of flats
    (1)For the purposes of this section a “converted block of flats” means a building or part of a building which—
    (a)has been converted into, and
    (b)consists of,
    self-contained flats.
    (2)This section applies to a converted block of flats if—
    (a)building work undertaken in connection with the conversion did not comply with the appropriate building standards and still does not comply with them; AND
    (b)less than two-thirds of the self-contained flats are owner-occupied.
    (3)In subsection (2) “appropriate building standards” means—
    (a)in the case of a converted block of flats—
    (i)on which building work was completed before 1st June 1992 or which is dealt with by regulation 20 of the Building Regulations 1991 (S.I. 1991/2768), and
    (ii)which would not have been exempt under those Regulations,
    building standards equivalent to those imposed, in relation to a building or part of a building to which those Regulations applied, by those Regulations as they had effect on 1st June 1992; and
    (b)in the case of any other converted block of flats, the requirements imposed at the time in relation to it by regulations under section 1 of the Building Act 1984 (c. 55).
    (4)For the purposes of subsection (2) a flat is “owner-occupied” if it is occupied—
    (a)by a person who has a lease of the flat which has been granted for a term of more than 21 years,
    (b)by a person who has the freehold estate in the converted block of flats, or
    (c)by a member of the household of a person within paragraph (a) or (b).
    (5)The fact that this section applies to a converted block of flats (with the result that it is a house in multiple occupation under section 254(1)(e)), does not affect the status of any flat in the block as a house in multiple occupation.
    (6)In this section “self-contained flat” has the same meaning as in section 254.

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