If you let a house or a flat to 3 or more tenants who are not of the same household then it is likely that this property is classed as a HMO. However, HMOs are normally only subject to mandatory licensing if the HMO is:
- Occupied by 5 or more people
- Comprising two or more households; and
- the building has three or more storeys
It is worth noting that Local Authorities have the power to introduce additional licensing schemes to cover smaller HMOs in their own area. if you own a HMO which does not fall within the mandatory licensing scheme, it is important for you to find out whether your own local authroity has an additional scheme operating on your area requiring licensing for smaller HMOs.
It is an offence to fail to apply for a licence and you could be fined up to £20,000. Moreover, any tenants living in the HMO may apply to a residential property tribunal for their rent to be returned whilst the HMO was not licensed up to a maximum of 12 month.
More information on HMOs can be found in the communities and Local Government booklet, which can be found by clicking here.