HMO licensing powers to come into force in October

Winchester City Council will soon be widening the scope of licensing houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). 

Currently, mandatory licensing of HMO’s only applies in buildings of 3 or more storeys but as from 1st October  2018, all privately rented properties in multiple occupation with 5 or more residents who are not from the same household, will require licenses. This comes after the government passed legislation, which requires HMO Landlords to apply for a licence by 1st October 2018, and failure to do so will be a criminal offence.

The council is keen to monitor local HMO’s and the new legislation allows them to control the rise in HMOs having already taken steps to reduce HMO’s in both Winnall and Stanmore through Article Four Directions.  

Winchester City Conservative Council Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing, Councillor Caroline Horrill said:

“I welcome the fact that the Government has passed this legislation as I know that the issues of HMOs in Winchester and the wider District is a hot topic for our residents.

“Mandatory licensing means that we can gain a better picture of where the HMOs are, and can help us deal with any future hotspots where they may become an issue or where enforcement action might be needed.

“We want to work with landlords, so they are aware of their legal obligation and the changes in legislation, so they do not get caught out before this comes into force in Autumn.”

Councillors on Winchester City Council’s Cabinet Housing Committee have agreed that charges for a new license are to be set at £900 (for a five-year license).

The new HMO mandatory licensing will apply when:

  • Properties are occupied by five or more people who are not from the same household, regardless of the number of storeys.
  • A building or a converted flat lacks or shares basic amenities such as a toilet, personal washing facilities or cooking facilities
  • Purpose built flats with up to two flats in the block when one or both are occupied as an HMO

Landlords who rent out HMO properties or tenants living in HMO properties requiring any further support or advice should contact the council's private sector housing team on 01962 848526 / privatesectorhousing@winchester.gov.uk or follow the link to http://www.winchester.gov.uk/housing/private-housing-and-empty-properties/houses-in-multiple-occupation