Over the past few years, the HMO regulations in London have changed so much that it can be really hard to stay up to speed with all your local licensing changes. However, as we all know, not being informed about the regulations doesn’t free us from the obligation and responsibility to have our properties in line with the latest regulations.
As one of London’s leading HMO management companies, we have seen many landlords leaving the HMO field simply because of all the new and varied licensing rules. There are so many licensing types, such as mandatory licensing, additional licensing, selective licensing, and Article 4 planning, that it’s easy for one to get lost in it like Alice in Wonderland.
What we have found through our experience however, is that the HMO licensing process is actually very simple and straightforward, and very often landlords are avoiding it simply because it’s something unfamiliar to them.
With this in mind, we have decided to help all landlords who are concerned about the HMO licensing and explain the whole licensing process to switch on some light in this dark room called HMO licensing.
After you have contacted the local council to find out if your property needs licensing or planning, here is how the HMO licensing process works:
- Firstly, you will need to fill in the HMO licensing application. This is a document where you simply need to provide your details and information about the property. For example; how many rooms the property has, how many bathrooms and wc, what kind of fire safety you have at the property, etc.
- After you have sent in the HMO licensing application, you have to make the payment for the application. The price you pay varies depending on the council, but the fee will be mentioned in the application itself, as well as the payment methods accepted. In most cases a cheque will suffice.
- After the application has been sent out, the council will contact you to arrange a visit to the property. Some councils do not visit the properties, but most councils do.
- During the visit, the HMO officer will make notes and he might even give you some suggestions during the visit.
- After the visit, the council will consult with fire officers and other experts and prepare a draft license. The draft license it will state the proposed changes and improvements required and the time-frame these should be completed in.
- After receiving the draft license you have 14 days to ask any questions or propose any changes to the draft license. Most councils are very open to negotiations so don’t be afraid to propose any changes to the license.
- After both parties have agreed on the draft license terms, the council will issue the license. Most councils will issue the license from the beginning and revisit the property when the improvement works are due to be completed. However, some councils will wait until the works are done and only then issue the license.
The most important thing is that, the council cannot fine you for not having the licence, as long as you have submitted an HMO licensing application form.
If you have any other questions with regards of HMO licensing please feel free to contact us.