Commercial Property - Multiple Occupation Leases

July 01, 2006

Mandatory licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) came into force across England on 6th April 2006 and landlords have until 7th July 2006 to apply for a licence. The new regulations will affect all landlords with properties of three storeys or properties containing two or more households containing three or more people.

Under the new regulations, landlords will have to demonstrate that their properties meet minimum standards in terms of fire safety, the number of bathrooms, toilets, washbasins, showers, cooking and laundry facilities and that those properties are managed by someone who is competent and fit to manage them. Any Landlord operating an HMO without applying for a licence will be liable for prosecution of a criminal offence – with a potential fine of £20,000 –subject to a rent replacement order and unable to evict a tenant under section 21.

Each HMO property will require a separate licence – valid for five years – and licences will not be transferable to another person or property should the landlord decide to sell.

Further information about licences and who is affected can be found at the ODPM website at or by contacting Jean Howe at Kirkby and Diamond’s Luton office

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