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How will landlord licensing work for HMOs?

Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information about licences and registration.

Eligibility criteria​ for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

The criteria for licensing are:

  • Mandatory licensing: applies to HMOs with 3 or more storeys, occupied by 5 or more persons and who form 2 or more households.
  • Additional licensing: applies to smaller HMOs where deemed necessary.
  • Selective licensing: this has not yet been introduced across the borough of Rochdale. When introduced it will cover all private rented properties within a selective area designated by a local authority. The local authority must be able to show that the area is suffering from low demand and/or antisocial behaviour. 

Read the definition for Houses in Multiple Occupation 

Does my property need a HMO licence? 

Not all HMOs require a licence. If you're unsure whether your property needs a licence:

  1. You can submit a short pre-application questionnaire to us.
  2. We'll aim to respond within 28 working days confirming whether you need to apply for a licence or not.

Find out if your property needs a HMO licence - pre-application questionnaire (118kb pdf) 

​HMOs that don't require a licence include:

  • HMO's that are entirely occupied by freeholders or long leaseholders.
  • Building or flats that are occupied by 2 single people (households).
  • HMOs owned and managed by educational establishments and buildings regulated by other legislation, such as residential care homes or bail hostels.
  • Buildings occupied by the leaseholder and their household, and 2 or fewer lodgers.
  • Buildings converted into self-contained flats that meet, as a minimum, the standard laid down in Building Regulations 1991.
  • Buildings managed by a Local Housing Authority, Registered Social Landlord, Police, Fire or Health authority.
  • Buildings whose occupation is regulated by other Acts.
  • Buildings occupied by students and managed by the educational establishment in question, on condition that the body has in place an Approved Code of Practice.
  • Buildings occupied by religious communities.
  • Children's homes.
  • Boarding schools and colleges.
  • Approved bail hostels, probation hostels, removal centres, prisons, remand centres, young offender institutions, secure training centres and accommodation centres for destitute asylum seekers.

This list is a guide only and landlords are advised to contact the Private Rented team with any queries they may have.

How do I apply for a HMO licence?

Find out how to apply for either a mandatory or additional licence or to renew an existing licence.

Find out more about applying for a HMO licence

How we decide on your licence application

We'll grant licences if all the following apply: 

  • The house contains 3 or more unrelated persons in 2 or more households.
  • The applicant is a "fit and proper" person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence.
  • The proposed manager has control of the house, and is a "fit and proper" person to be the manager.
  • The management arrangements are satisfactory.

What happens if you fail to apply for a HMO licence?

If you fail to apply for a licence, there are a range of sanctions that could be applied:

  • It's a criminal offence to operate a licensable HMO without applying for a licence. On conviction, you could face a fine of up to £20,000.
  • It's a criminal offence to breach your licensing conditions. On conviction, you could face a fine of up to £5,000.
  • If the council cannot grant a licence or a licence is revoked, an Interim Management Order (IMO) must be made. This will transfer the management of the property to the local authority. The council can then spend monies received through rents to cover the costs of managing the property.
  • If a landlord operates a licensable HMO without a licence, section 21 procedures to evict tenants cannot be used.·
  • Any rent received while the property was unlicensed may have to be paid back to the local authority or in certain circumstances the tenant.

Will tacit consent apply?

Tacit consent will not apply to this application. It's in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you've not heard from us within 28 working days please contact us.

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01706 926223

Phone: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.

Private Sector Housing
Number One Riverside
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU