East Dulwich

165 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London, SE22 8HX

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5 London Road, Forest Hill, London, SE23 3TW

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Flaxfield House, 91 The Street, Maidstone, Kent,
ME18 5LU

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Register with Daisy Lets & Sales

Please enter your details and parameters of the type of property you are looking for below and one of our dedicated team will be in touch to discuss how we can help you find your dream home.

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May 2, 2017 Landlords

Landlord Licensing: Mandatory / Selective / Additional / Article 4 – what’s it all about?

Landlord Licensing is a thorny subject at best, intended to regulate the sector and bring properties up to standard, it can be a minefield for the innocent landlord as every borough has different rules.

 

The below is intended to give a general overview, please use the available links to obtain more in depth details and current regulations, the below was correct as per May 2017. If in doubt call your relevant council for advice.

 

What is an HMO?

 

The definition of an HMO is a ‘House of Multiple Occupation’ with three or more tenants forming more than two households.

Put simply at a minimum this could be a couple and a friend sharing one house or three friends. Members of the same family sharing form one household, so a house with more than two siblings sharing with their spouses and children is not an HMO. If they then have two more unrelated people sharing with them, it becomes an HMO. This is why it is important to do regular inspections to make sure your property still falls within the regulations.

Just because a property is an HMO by definition does not mean it has to be licensed.

 

What is a Mandatory HMO?

 

A Mandatory HMO needs to be licensed, the definition is currently a House of Multiple Occupation that has five or more tenants forming more than two households and contains more than three floors.

A property that fits this criteria MUST be licensed with your local authority, requiring payment and an inspection to obtain your license. There are rules and regulations that go along with this including the requirement for  fire blankets, interlinked smoke alarms and fire doors on certain rooms. You also have to adhere to the LACORS guidance. The council will make an appointment to visit your property for an inspection when you apply.

A point of note is that it is highly likely that a change will come in around October this year (2017) requiring an HMO of any number of floors to have a license – not just properties over three floors as it is now

Floors include basements and lofts if they are adapted or constructed to contain living accomodation or a separate entrance to the road. If your flat is above a business premises then the level the commercial premises is on counts as one storey/floor – not many people know that. So if you have a two storey, five bedroom flat above a shop, or a house with two floors, five bedrooms, and a converted basement suitable for accomodation but just used for storage, if you have five tenants it is an HMO for licensing purposes. This would therefore also apply if you have a large converted basement with an open plan kitchen/family room and you have two floors upstairs with rooms used as five bedrooms with five unrelated tenants, or if the basement room has the main entrance to the house on this level.

Mandatory Licensing is the heavy weight Licensing Scheme, separate to the newer Additional and Selective Schemes and will always “trump” these as the highest form of licensing. So if you think you fall into another licensing category too, you still only need to apply for a Mandatory License.

 

Additional and Selective Licensing Schemes

 

Southwark

Southwark’s ‘Additional’ Licensing Scheme requires properties with three or more tenants forming two or more households to apply for a license. The ‘Selective’ Licensing Scheme requires Landlords of all properties in certain zones on their interactive map to apply for a license regardless of whether a family is in occupation or two sharers. The properties falling within these two extra schemes must have licenses regardless of the number of floors.

More information can be found on the Southwark Website, if in doubt email the department and they can advise you further. If they tell you your property does not need a license, please make sure you have explained your situation/set up fully and keep a copy of their reply. We have experienced conflicting information in the past when they have not read and interpreted the information given to them correctly. The safest way is to ask for an inspection if you are told you don’t need a license and you think you should after reading all the information.

Lambeth

Currently Lambeth have no Additional or Selective licensing schemes running

Lewisham

Lewisham only requires landlords to obtain a license if the property is above a commercial premises.

Croydon

Croydon also have a blanket Selective licensing scheme, so all landlords must pay for a license.

 

‘Article 4’ Directions

 

Thankfully none of the above boroughs have Article 4 directions applicable requiring planning permission for HMOs unlike some other London boroughs. These have been brought in to stem the increase of HMOs in certain areas of London. If you have a property in Newham you would need to apply for permission to convert a family dwelling into an HMO (from class C3 to C4), which will most likely be refused. You would also need planning permission to turn your existing HMO back into a family dwelling!


For more information on more borough’s Licensing Schemes and to be kept up to date on changes, the London Property Licensing website is a very good resource.

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