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May 14, 2018
Property Licensing: What’s changed?
Tags: property legislation , property compliance , property tips , property news

On Wednesday 16th May at 12pm, VTUK and London Property Licensing will be joining together to carry out a Twitter chat on landlord licensing. Back in 2016, we carried out a chat explaining everything a letting agent and landlord needed to know about licensing. Since then, licensing has been introduced across various regions of the UK whilst major changes to HMO regulation is set to come in October. Follow our chat on Twitter using #QuestionTribe or visit @VTUK. We’ve also explained everything you need to know below. 


New HMO rules are set to come into force throughout England on the 1st October 2018. All properties regardless of height, occupied by five or more people from two or more households must be licensed. All licensing applications MUST be submitted to your local council using their prescribed form before the 1st October 2018 to ensure compliance.

A limited number of properties occupied by five or more people from two or more households are exempt from mandatory HMO licensing. These include:

  • Self-contained flats in purpose built blocks comprising three or more self-contained flats.

  • Any property occupied by just two people who form two households; [less than five people so exclude]

  • Buildings managed by a local housing authority, registered social landlord, police or fire & rescue authority or a health service body;

  • Buildings already regulated under certain other statutory provisions (Schedule 1 to SI 2006 Number 373)

  • Certain student halls of residence;

  • Buildings occupied principally for the purposes of a religious community whose principle occupation is prayer, contemplation, education or the relief of suffering; and

  • Buildings owner occupied with no more than two lodgers.

In addition to the mandatory HMO licensing scheme, more and more councils are introducing additional and selective licensing schemes which extend licensing to a wider range of properties. Don’t get caught out, ensure you carefully examine what rules apply in your area.

Minimum Room Sizes

Minimum room sizes for licensed HMOs are also due to come in. A date for this is yet to be confirmed. Rooms used for sleeping by one adult must be no smaller than 6.51sqm, those slept in by two adults must be no smaller than 10.22sqm, whilst rooms slept in by children of ten years or younger must be no smaller than 4.64sqm.


When it comes to re-mortgaging, it’s your responsibility to let certain parties know in writing of your licensing application whilst the local authority must also do the same. These parties include the mortgage lender, freeholder, leaseholders, licence holder, managing agent (and anyone else who’s agreed to be bound by a condition of the licence).

Notifying these parties could lead to action from the lender if the letting arrangement breaches their terms and conditions. This could undermine any future borrowing arrangements and risks the lender calling in the loan at short notice. Some landlords should consider re-mortgaging their property to avoid breaching their mortgage, leading to a potential redemption penalty.

Latest Licensing Schemes

Below we’ve outlined the latest licensing schemes being introduced across the UK:

Newham - Newham Council has renewed the scheme to licence all rental properties on its patch, excluding the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Nottingham - Nottingham Council has introduced selective licensing to 31,000 private rental units.

Scarborough’s Castle and North Bay Wards - By 31st December 2017, landlords in Scarborough’s Castle and North Bay Wards must have applied for a licence under their selective licensing scheme. Landlords who’re yet to apply for licensing now face a £100 penalty charge.

Havering - Licensing across the 12 wards of Havering (Brooklands, Mawneys, Elm Park, Pettits, Gooshays, Rainham & Wennington, Harold Wood, Romford Town, Havering Park, South Hornchurch, Heaton and Squirrels Heath) has now been approved.

In London? Find out more about London licensing with London Property Licensing- http://www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/

Don’t forget to join @VTUK @lplicensing for our licensing debate on Twitter on Wednesday 16th May at 12pm using #QuestionTribe.