Licensing of HMOs

Which HMOs need a licence?

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) comprising of:

  • three or more storeys and
  • occupied by five or more persons who form two or more households will require a license from the council.

Storeys used as commercial units, for example, shops on the ground floor, will count as a storey, as will basements if they are in residential use.

How is a licence obtained?

The landlord of the HMO is responsible for applying for a licence, by completing an application form which can be obtained from the Housing and Communities Team.

A fee is charged for dealing with the application. This will be calculated on a case by case basis and only cover the cost to the council in administering the licence. Further details may be obtained from the Housing and Communities Team.

In deciding whether to grant or approve the licence, the following is considered:

  • whether the house is suitable for occupation as a HMO
  • whether the license holder and manager is a ‘fit and proper’ person
  • whether the management of the property is satisfactory

When a license has been approved it will normally remain valid for 5 years.

HMO Licensing Conditions

To improve standards in HMOs, landlords of all licensable properties must:

  • submit a valid copy of a gas safety certificate (in accordance with the Gas Safety Regulations 1998) to the council.
  • ensure safety of all electrical appliances and furniture
  • install and properly maintain correctly sited smoke alarms throughout the property
  • provide each occupant with a written statement about terms and conditions — for example a tenancy agreement
  • the council can also impose a range of other conditions if deemed warranted.

Any breach of licensing conditions can result in prosecution and may result in a £5,000 fine upon summary conviction.

Will Tacit Consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from West Lindsey within a reasonable period, please contact us using the information below.

Failed Application Redress

Please contact the Housing and Communities Team in the first instance. Contact details can be found below.

You may appeal to a residential property tribunal regarding conditions attached to a licence or any decision to vary or revoke a licence.

Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.  

Consumer Complaint

If a licence is granted and you wish to appeal against it being granted you may do so to a residential property tribunal within 28 days of the decision being made.

Other redress

What can happen if a HMO which should be licensed is operating without one?

It is a criminal offence to operate a licensable HMO without having obtained a licence.

The current fine that can be imposed is £20,000

  • in addition, any Housing Benefit paid to the landlord for an unlicensed HMO, can be repayable to the local authority (subject to a Residential Property Tribunal order)
  • also, in some circumstances, tenants can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order if they have paid rent to a landlord who has failed to obtain a HMO licence
  • no section 21 notice may be service under the Housing Act 1988 in relation to a short hold tenancy of part of an unlicensed HMO

A local authority can apply to a Residential Property Tribunal to manage a HMO that is not licensed. This means the council takes over management responsibilities from the landlord in respect to the property, including collection of rent and carrying out repairs and similar. This is referred to as an Interim or Final Management Order.

Public Register of Licences, Temporary Exemption Notices and Management Orders

The council is required under Section 232 of Housing Act 2004 to keep a public register of HMO Licences granted, Temporary Exemption Notices issued and Management Orders made. This information is not uploaded to the website to protect the personal information of the licence holders and landlords. It is available for public viewing during office hours by contacting strategic.housing@west-lindsey.gov.uk or asking for a member of the Housing and Communities Team.  

Contact Us

You can contact the Housing and Communities Team using the details below who will respond to you within 5 working days.

contact | Housing and Communities Team
Housing and Communities Team

West Lindsey District Council
Marshall’s Yard
DN21 2NA
United Kingdom

contact | Empty Homes Officer
Empty Homes Officer

West Lindsey District Council
Marshall’s Yard
DN21 2NA
United Kingdom