Mandatory licensing - houses in multiple occupation
As part of the Housing Act 2004, compulsory licensing of certain HMO properties was introduced (also known as mandatory licensing). This is intended to help improve standards, particularly in larger, high-risk HMO, and to ensure that these properties are managed by "fit and proper persons".
Currently, South Oxfordshire District Council only operate the 'mandatory' HMO licensing scheme, as follows:
HMO properties comprising three or more storeys, which includes two storey properties with a basement or attic used or capable of being used in connection with the occupation of the HMO and where it is occupied by five or more people in two or more households, living in the dwelling as their main or only residence and who share facilities.
The council is not currently operating any additional or selective HMO licensing scheme.
HMO - Licence fees
South Oxfordshire District Council has currently set the licence fee at £500 for a property of up to five units of accommodation, with a further fee of £25 for each additional unit of accommodation. (These fees are set locally by the council).
HMO - Penalties
It is an offence to operate a licensable HMO without having obtained a license. The current fine that can be imposed is £20,000.
In addition, any Housing Benefit paid to the landlord of an unlicensed HMO, may be repayable to the local authority (subject to a Residential Property Tribunal Order) and in some circumstances, tenants can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal (RPT) for a Rent Repayment Order if they have paid rent to a landlord who has failed to obtain an HMO licence.
HMO - Management Orders
A local authority can apply to a RPT to manage an HMO that is not licensed. This means the council could take over management responsibilities from the landlord in respect to the property, including collection of rent and carrying out repairs etc. This is referred to as an Interim or Final Management Order.
Last reviewed: 12 - 01 - 2016