HMO Licencing Brighton & Hove – everything you need to know
What is an HMO?
HMO stands for House in Multiple Occupation. In short, this is a property where three or more tenants are living as more than one household. A family, single person or a cohabiting couple count as one household, so three friends or professionals living together from different families would be classed as three separate households. For a Landlord to let a property to three or more households, they must apply for and be granted an HMO licence from the local authority along with confirming planning permission where article 4 is applicable.
How to apply for an HMO licence.
Applying for an HMO licence is fairly lengthy process. It requires a property visit to record features such as smoke alarms, bathrooms, living areas etc. It also requires a floorplan or sketch and submission of relevant documents including an Energy Performance Certificate, Gas Safety Certificate, Tenancy Agreement and Electrical Safety Certificate. Parks offer a service to apply for this licence on your behalf. We complete a professional floorplan, attend the property and answer all the required questions, and submit all safety certificates and documentation on your behalf. To read more about this service click here.
How long does it take to get an HMO licence?
Following application, the process of receiving a licence is relatively fast. Usually, within 3 months the council will send an HMO Officer round to the property to assess conditions and then they will issue a draft licence with conditions. These conditions will need to be completed within a set timescale, which is often around 3 months, in order for the full licence to be issued.
How much does it cost to get an HMO licence?
The fee is different dependant on a few variables. The normal total fee for 3 – 5 tenants is £683 and it increases for larger properties let to more tenants. See the full list of fees here.
Different types of HMO licence.
There are three different types of property licencing:
Mandatory Licencing of large HMOs
This applies nationwide for any properties that have:
- 5 or more occupants and
- Occupied by persons living in two or more separate households and
- Contains shared facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet
Additional licencing is imposed by local authorities. In Brighton and Hove this means licences are also required for properties that consist of:
- two or more storeys
- one storey and above a commercial property
- three or more occupiers
- from two or more households
- with shared facilities
Situated within one of the following 12 wards:
- Brunswick & Adelaide
- Central Hove
- East Brighton
- Hanover & Elm Grove
- Hollingdean & Stanmer
- Moulsecoomb & Bevendean
- Preston Park
- Queens Park
- South Portslade
- St Peter’s & North Laine
Pleas note that planning permission and Article 4 is due to become citywide in June 2020
This implemented by the local authority and requires approval from central government. It affects any rental property regardless of size, area and property type. It was due to be implemented citywide in Brighton and Hove but then the decision was overturned, you can read more about this in our other blog here.
Maximum occupants and conditions of HMO licence.
In short, this will depend on the property. The final licence will state the maximum number of households and occupants allowed in that property. Prior to the final licence being issued, there will be a draft licence issued which includes additional conditions including Electrical Safety testing and maintenance of fire precautions. It may also include property specific recommendations including additional heat alarms, fire doors etc.
How long does my licence last?
Usually an HMO licence scheme runs for a 5 year period. The length of the licence issued to you will depend on how many years are left until the end of the current licencing scheme. During the licence period an HMO officer will attend the property carry out a HHSRS assessment. The type of things that will be assessed include safety handrails, trip hazards, surfaces that can be easily cleaned (eg floor covering in kitchens and bathrooms), adequacy of ventilation, safety glass in doors etc.
Whilst there are too many to list here, we have picked out some main features that’ll be assessed and for the full list you can read the Brighton and Hove criteria here.
- Washing Facilities – for 5 or more occupiers there must be 1 bathroom plus 1 separate WC with hand wash basin, and where practicable 1 hand wash basin in each sleeping room.
- Room size – the minimum room size requirements are 6.5 square meters for a single room permitting one occupant, and 10.2 square meters for a double room permitting two occupants.
- Heating – Each unit of living accommodation in an HMO must be equipped with adequate means of space heating with minimum temperature requirements
- Safety Alarms – The licence holder must ensure the property has the correct amount of fire alarms and ensure that a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room in the house which is used as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.
- Electrical safety – The licence holder must provide the council with a copy of an Electrical Installation Condition report
- Furniture and Furnishings – furnishings made available must be in a safe condition and comply with current fire safety legislation
- Fire Safety – as a landlord, you need to make sure that all escape routes from the property are protected. This is achieved primarily by using fire doors.
For any questions on HMO licencing in Brighton and Hove, or to request Parks to apply for a licence on your behalf, you can contact us by calling 01273 202089, email us at email@example.com or use our online contact form.