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Property Licensing

What are property licenses?

In England and Wales there are three types of property license a landlord might need to remain legally compliant. The locations of where these types of license change. There nationally mandatory HMO license, plus Additional Licenses, and Selective Licenses which can be brought in by local authorities as they see fit.

If you don’t have the correct licence for your property, you could face prosecution from the local authority who have the powers to impose uncapped fines and banning orders, in addition to the possibility of tenants seeking a rent repayment order against you meaning you would have to return up to twelve months’ rent to them.

This page provides general information about licensing, the links below for each local authority provide more details of the schemes in place locally.

If you’re planning on selling your property, or moving back into it, within 3-6 months, you can apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN) from your council. 

What's the difference? HMO / Additional / Selective Licence

Licensing is a complex area, with lots of similar sounding names, and ever changing regulations, so what’s the difference between all these licences? And what is an HMO?

House In Multiple Occupation

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property let to at least 3 people who are not from 1 ‘household’ (for example a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. It’s sometimes called a ‘house share’. 

Statutory HMO Licence

All HMOs with five or more occupants in England and Wales are required to have a HMO licence, regardless of the number of floors. This changed on 1st October 2018, prior to that date, only properties on two or more floors were included.

Additional Licencing

This is a form of discretionary licensing that covers HMOs that do not fall under the mandatory licensing scheme.

Additional licensing schemes often include what’s called Section 257 HMOs, which are buildings which have been converted in to flats, you can read more about the definition here.

Selective Licencing

This requires most private landlords operating within a designated area to licence any privately rented property they manage within that area. It can apply to all rental property types whether they are HMOs or not.

Selective licencing requires approval from national Government and must be reviewed after the initial five year period.

N.B. Some councils include ALL HMOs, or ALL privately rented properties in these schemes, please check carefully.

Do I have to have multiple licences for my property?

In short, no, you will only ever need a maximum of one licence for your property.

If your property is included in the statutory national HMO licencing scheme you will not be required to have an additional or selective licence. If you property requires a licence under an additional licencing scheme then it won’t require a selective licence.

Certificate of Lawful Use / Development

It’s an increasing requirement of local authorities to demand proof of lawful use (C4 or suis generis) for all properties within an Article 4 area as part of the HMO application process.

How can Purple Frog help?

Save time and avoid the hassle, let us do it for you. We’ve completed hundreds of applications, so know how to navigate the red tape to make sure you get your licence.

We can also complete Certificate of Lawful Use applications on your behalf, which are now being demanded by a number of local authorities to prove of lawful use (C4 or suis generis) for all properties within an Article 4 area as part of the HMO application process.

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