Do I need a HMO license to rent my property?

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  • Do I need a HMO license to rent my property?

We are asked this question on a regular basis. We are surprised when we speak to landlords that they do not have one. They are also not aware that they must have a license for their property. It still amazes us today that landlords are not aware of the requirements.

We recently spoke to a landlord who has let their property through another agent being a three-bedroom flat. However, he did not know he needed a licence.  The flat was in Hove, but it was over two floors, so they needed a licence. She was not aware that she had to have a license for the property and the agent had not told her.

She was not aware that any rent she received from the tenants before she had a licence needed to be repaid. This is because she does not have a licence to rent the property out.

There is no defence to this. It is something that she had to go back to the previous letting agent to discuss it with them.

HMO.

Do not be fooled to think that licenses only relate to HMO’s. This is not the case. The Government must approve scheme before the local authorities can put them in place. You will often find that these schemes do involve HMO’s ie. Housing of Multiple Occupation or students. But it is not always the case. Councils can decide to do selective licensing within their area. They use selective licensing to improve housing stock within the city or town. But they can also use it to ensure that certain areas are not used by students etc.

Brighton and Hove last year decided to do selective licensing scheme. This related to all property with three or more tenants. They have now extended the scheme throughout the whole of Brighton and Hove. If you rent a property out to three people and it is over two floors, you need a licence. They must be unconnected ie not a family. It has now been extended that you will also now need planning permission.

I am a landlord and I appreciate I need a license, but I am not going to bother, what is the point?

We can give an example of what the issues will be. A landlord in High Wickham who let out an unlicensed property that was also in need of repair was fined £4,083.00. Following this was ordered to pay costs of £500.00 and a victim fare charge of £166.00.

On top of this the tenants were entitled to claim through the court all rent that he had received from having an unlicensed property. There is no defence to this.

The landlord had done the following:

  1. Failure to license a house
  2. Had seven breaches of the management of houses in occupation (England) regulations of 2006 regarding conditions.

The breaches were as follows:

  1. Failure to display the name, address, and telephone number of the managing agent within the property.
  2. To replace the missing handle to the kitchen window.
  3. Failure to provide locks on the doors to all letting rooms which could be operated from within the room without a key.
  4. To provide adequate fire protection to the loft hatch and cupboard beneath the stairs which held the utility meters and consumer units.
  5. Failure to replace the missing external door handle.
  6. To repair a large hole in the external kitchen wall.
  7. Failure to maintain the garden in a safe and tidy condition.

The items outlined above may seem small. The context of having an unlicensed property though is massive. It is important to understand what your legal requirements are. You must ensure you understand what you need to do.

Brighton has a website that you can check if you need one. All you must do is put the details in. If you are unable to work out what the criteria, why do not you contact us. We will do it for you. If you do not wish to be exposed or fined. Did you know that the council can stop you renting your property? They can stop you from having a licence.

Are there requirements for HMO’s?

Yes, there are. There are a lot of requirements which the council will need, such as the following:

1) Washing facilities.

Dependant on the amount of people within the property. This will then set number of baths, showers and hand basins required. Some properties require toilets and bathrooms to be a certain size.

2) Kitchens.

There will be some form of kitchen required, not more than on one floor and suitably located in the accommodation.

The kitchen will need to be equipped with some form of the following:

1) Sinks with draining boards.

2) Adequate supply of cold and hot water.

3) Installation or equipped with equipment for cooking food.

4) Electrical sockets

5) Adequate work tops, preparation of food.

6) Cupboards for storage of food or kitchen utensils.

7) Refrigerators. With an adequate freezer department.

8) Appropriate refuse storage and dispose facilities.

9) Appropriate extractor fans.

10) Dining facilities. This is dependent on the size of the house.

There are very tight and stringent room sizes for properties. There are minimum room sizes. They relate to shape and floor to ceiling height offering adequate living space.

In respect of the floor area where the ceiling is 1.5 meters or higher will be counted. Room sizes are whether they are self-contained or non-self-contained.

We can help in this regard.

  1. There will be individual bathrooms required.
  2. Landlords must provide the name and address of any manager at the property.
  3. The landlord must have a property tenancy agreement laid out in respect of the property and to give a copy of the tenancy agreement within 28 days of the council requesting.
  4. As the landlord you cannot over crowd the property.
  5. The landlord must ensure that there is a reasonable utility supplies at the property.
  6. The landlord must ensure that there are smoke detectors and carbon monoxide at the property.
  7. You must ensure as the landlord that there are adequate and appropriate fire precaution facilities at the property. This is one of the most important. This will come under the health and fire safety. There is a guide called lacors which you should refer to. This has all the requirements in it.  This can be very expensive. They will also need fire doors together with door stops. It will be best in this instance to have a fire risk assessment carried out. Then you will know what your property required.

Heating.

It must have an adequate means heating that should be able to reach at least between 21 – 22 degrees.

Furnishings, furniture, and fittings.

Furniture and furnishings should be supplied if appropriate.

Energy efficiency.

In energy efficiency the landlord must show that the property is being energy efficient in records with the EPC.

Property management.

The landlord must provide full details of the property management in relation to the property.

Property inspections.

The landlord must show that they have carried out regular property inspections. We often find with landlords who have HMO’s they do not understand that this is the case and have never carried out an inspection. As such you are technically in breach of the license.

Waste and Recycling.

Landlords must supply details of the waste and recycling that is due in respect of the property and when it is due to be collected etc.

Anti-social behaviour.

You must ensure that there is adequate information within the tenancy agreement to deal with any anti-social behaviour and hat the procedures are.

You will see from the above that the details of the requirements for licensing are quite stringent. It is important that you understand what licencing requirements there are. This can be in any area with the local licencing rules and regulations. The consequences of penalties can be quite severe.

If you require advice and want to know what your legal requirements are then do not hesitate to contact us. We are fully adverse and update to date with all the requirements. We understand what the local authority in Brighton requires but also what the government do. At Harringtons we have monthly meetings with our solicitor. They work on the law commission who advise the government in this area.  We specialise in giving landlord advice in Brighton and Hove on this. Please read our previous article on Mandatory licensing across the country (click here).

Why not contact us on 01273 724000 to discuss the requirements or advice you wish to obtain.

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google-review Review
Pasha Salahshouri
Pasha Salahshouri
10:40 16 Jul 24
In what became a complex purchase, in which our financial circumstance changed during conveyancing, Janey was exceptional in her management of the purchase through to completion. Her comms were consistent and reasonable, which is more than can be asked of from a selling agent. When she wasn't available (rarely), the rest of the sales team in the office were also prompt with their correspondence and also clear and concise. A great experience overall.
Ms Natalie Vivien Christou- Sapsted
Ms Natalie Vivien Christou- Sapsted
17:57 15 Jul 24
Wonderful, fair, and supportive letting agency. Highly recommended.
Cristina Mihail
Cristina Mihail
12:53 09 Jul 24
I have heard of Harringtons via Rightmove. Communication was excellent, prompt, your employees that I had the opportunity to talk too were very friendly and helpful. The whole process of viewing and renting was quick and efficient
Caleb King
Caleb King
08:01 07 Jul 24
We would like to rate you 5 for your service, the two viewings that we went to for properties were excellent. Georgie was extremely friendly and helpful with great advice and information given.Despite the difficulties around gaining our property, communication was excellent from you throughout the whole process which we really appreciated.
Anita Vasko
Anita Vasko
18:21 29 Jun 24
I recently met Georgie while searching for my current home, and she showed me a lovely apartment. I must say, she is one of the best real estate agents I have encountered over the years. She was very helpful and friendly, and most importantly, she provided answers to all my questions. I hope others also have such a pleasant and helpful experience in their search for a new home. She was amazing throughout the whole process. Thank youuuuu :)
Ryan Arnold
Ryan Arnold
23:47 26 Jun 24
Harringtons have been extremely helpful and flexible with us so far! Very glad to have them as our letting agents for our forthcoming move.
Oliver Cannon
Oliver Cannon
09:32 22 Jun 24
Beth and Georgie were easy to get hold of, trustworthy, professional and quite frankly excellent. Really quick at replying to emails and understood I can’t always be contacted via phone. Would recommend to everyone.
Maria Ruxandra Ifrim (Rux)
Maria Ruxandra Ifrim (Rux)
12:38 21 Jun 24
Janey was wonderful. As first time buyers she really ensured this process is going forward. We had a lot of trouble with the seller's solicitors, but she made sure we are always kept in the loop. We will probably use the company when we want to sell the place.
Lydia Freeman
Lydia Freeman
10:44 19 Jun 24
Very prompt, really helpful information given at viewings, an excellent experience in an otherwise stressful time of flat hunting. Thank you Georgie!
Joel Dracott
Joel Dracott
07:02 17 Jun 24
Lovely and friendly staff who are always happy to help with any problems or questions!
Collette Tupling
Collette Tupling
14:48 14 Jun 24
I run lettings portfolio with my partner in Hove, and have solely used Harrington Lettings for many, many years. The main attraction to me is their insistence of guarantors which in these particularly tough times for all of us but particularly tenants, protects us from getting caught up in the legal system which can take months, over 6 in many instances, until a bailiff is appointed and the property returned-very stressful for Landlord and tenant alike. I have always thought that Harringtons offered a great service, but I have been amazed at how this service level has been improved by the recent appointment of Beth Roberts. Beth is a "can do" person and is motivated by results and getting me the market rent initially and on tenancy renewals. Any Landlord who is feeling dissatisfied with their current Letting Agency, should give Beth a call-they will not be disappointed!
Cat Westmacott
Cat Westmacott
17:57 10 Jun 24
Generally helpful for Lettings. As with any company, sometimes need a push for a response, but often easier to speak on the phone than email. Feeling hopeful for the next year’s contract with Harringtons🤞.
Kirsty Turner
Kirsty Turner
20:50 04 Jun 24
Great experience. Everyone is so lovely and helpful over the phone at Harringtons! The best experience we have had with a letting agent in Brighton, none of the other agents in Brighton have been bothered to keep in touch and help us find a property as much as these guys. A special shoutout to the lovely lady who showed me around the flat (Georgie I believe -sorry if I got that wrong), great at answering all my questions and been very lucky in securing the first property we viewed with her (an amazing spacious flat that has everything we need - including nice storage space for our paddleboards!) Looking forward to moving into our seaside home. Thank you!
Shadan B
Shadan B
23:31 30 May 24
Great experience, very helpful staff and friendly. I wish you all the success. Thanks for your care. 💐😊
Rachel Roberts
Rachel Roberts
21:13 30 May 24
Best experience I've had with a letting agent!
Charley Besant
Charley Besant
10:25 30 May 24
So far the process with Harringtons has been amazing. We viewed 3 properties with Georgie and each time she was so informative and kind, she gave us the time we needed in each property to look around, take videos and ask questions about everything. The whole process has been easy so far and I can now happily say we found our property thanks to Georgie and the team at Harringtons.
Ainhoa Negro
Ainhoa Negro
09:15 30 May 24
Georgie at Harringtons Lettings in Brighton has been exceptional throughout my rental process. From the very beginning, her professionalism and friendliness stood out. She provided clear and prompt communication, ensuring all my questions were answered thoroughly. Georgie made the entire experience seamless, from viewing properties to finalizing the paperwork. Her attention to detail and genuine care for my needs made me feel confident and supported. I highly recommend Georgie and Harringtons Lettings to anyone looking for a top-notch rental experience in Brighton.
PRBL1
PRBL1
09:11 30 May 24
Joel Starcross
Joel Starcross
15:22 29 May 24
Beth has been an excellent agent, great communicator and enthusiastic member of the team. Highly recommended!
Jess Pond
Jess Pond
13:16 29 May 24
Had an absolutely awful experience with this company. Told me one thing on the phone and then told me another thing on email. Very mixed messages. Left 7 students homeless by putting the house back on the market with only 24 hour notice. Will never use them again. AVOID!
Roisin Lilley
Roisin Lilley
11:42 24 May 24
I recently had some problems with my previous agent and came to Beth for help! She took over the correspondence for me and sorted everything out for me! I can’t thank her enough for her patience and help!! I’d highly recommend her to other landlords that need help!
Chris Lilley
Chris Lilley
11:26 24 May 24
I’ve been a tenant with Harringtons Lettings for a while, they are great, they always sort out any issues I have quickly and efficiently, Beth in particular is really helpful and I’ll be going to her for my next rental property when I look to move in September!
Georgina Palzeaird
Georgina Palzeaird
11:21 24 May 24
Beth Roberts was a huge help when I needed to switch to a new letting agency. She was friendly and efficient and I’ve always felt I’m in safe hands.
Eliya Halim
Eliya Halim
10:26 24 May 24
Top service
Maryana Atiya
Maryana Atiya
10:20 24 May 24
Rees Harper
Rees Harper
17:53 21 May 24
Lauryn Keller
Lauryn Keller
15:20 03 May 24
Georgie was great on our viewing - super lovely, informative and honest. Thank you!
Sammi Richmond
Sammi Richmond
09:16 24 Apr 24
Well, they just contacted me via email asking for a review for money... so here, I guess.Does 3 stars get me that tenner? Probably not. Nothing terrible to say, but never had any issues with the property really. Don't enjoy that they were willing to pay for reviews though, seems sketchy.UPDATE: As the business has finally replied to my review 6 years later, I thought I would mention that I indeed have the email still as proof. Offer of £10 for a review, and to mention Rachel Erridge in the review. Also a prize of £200 to one lucky winner. The email was sent from the Harrington's admin email address. I can email the proof to whoever requests it.
Jayden Charles-Frempong
Jayden Charles-Frempong
01:20 18 Apr 24
Every interaction I've had so far with Harrington has been positive with workers responding to calls very quickly and addressing any queries efficiently.
severin severinov
severin severinov
10:05 11 Apr 24
It is very good that they do their job professionally and take care of the customers.
kate quick
kate quick
13:15 09 Apr 24
I am very happy and extremely grateful to have found Harringtons lettings and the beautiful flat that I am now living in. Not only is the flat perfect for me, ticks all the boxes and is in a great location; the whole communication/admin process was so fast and efficient. I spoke to many of the team, but the two main contacts initially were Georgie and Beth. Great personalities, friendly and fast at replying to emails and phone calls. It was all turned around very quickly and everyone at Harringtons seems to appear to really be happy in their jobs. Great letting agent and I would recommend them to others looking for a new home.
Michael Hollamby
Michael Hollamby
12:32 09 Apr 24
Having worked with many many lettings it has been refreshing to deal with such a dynamic and energetic team. From start to finish the team have outstanding. Special mention to Beth who has been fantastic. I can thoroughly recommend using Harringtons.
Celyn James
Celyn James
17:08 27 Mar 24
Great experience, Georgie was so knowledgeable and kind with any enquiries I had. Really put me at ease while house hunting, amazing service thank you so much!!
Madison Harris
Madison Harris
14:29 27 Mar 24
Georgie was so helpful and really kind very appreciative x
Amber-Rose Cook
Amber-Rose Cook
08:58 22 Mar 24
easy to use and navigate as a first time user
Buffy Vaughn
Buffy Vaughn
18:06 21 Mar 24
Harringtons have been so helpful so far. Everyone we’ve spoken to on the phone including Georgie have been so warm and receptive and easy to communicate with. As a couple renting together for first time me & Danny couldn’t have found better people to help us out, they’re clear and concise. We discovered them through Rightmove and would highly recommend anyone to use their services to rent with.Thanks guys!Buffy & Danny
Sajan Raja
Sajan Raja
01:48 21 Mar 24
Kerryn Johnson
Kerryn Johnson
16:58 18 Mar 24
Georgie was absolutely amazing! Very helpful, easy to talk to and all in all an absolute sweetheart. Made the process of renting and finding a property less stressful. Always happy to help and lovely to chat to!Thank you again for everything!
Julia Reinstein
Julia Reinstein
11:22 18 Mar 24
5/5 - Everyone I’ve spoken to on the phone has been so friendly and patient with our move in documents. We found Harringtons through Rightmove, and have been really happy with our interactions. The team respond to queries efficiently and are happy to answer any and all questions.
Andrew Brown
Andrew Brown
07:09 15 Mar 24
A really excellent agency, who are very easy and friendly to deal with. Highly recommended.
Rob Rainbird
Rob Rainbird
18:04 13 Mar 24
Lovely staff and all round positive experience - Georgie is an absolute diamond and a credit to the team!
Tori Tor
Tori Tor
11:15 08 Mar 24
Harringtons have been really helpful and very swift with their responses. Georgie was very proffesional and really friendly when she did the viewings with me and Beth on the phone was again really helpful and gave me hope when I was explaining my eagerness to find somewhere new to live. Thanks Harringtons!
christos papanicolaou
christos papanicolaou
09:33 07 Mar 24
Staff were brilliant. Very helpful
Yasmin Bright
Yasmin Bright
20:54 01 Mar 24
I'm in a difficult situation at the moment with my landlord wanting to sell the flat that myself and my 3 children have been living in for 7 years. I came across Harringtons Viewings by applying to view some properties outside of my area.Unfortunately I haven't been able to sort anything with Harringtons, however I wanted to write this to say that they have been nothing but kind, warm and very understanding of my situation. I've been really impressed by their customer service (namely Georgie & Beth) and hope that they are able to find me something eventually!Thanks so much.Yasmin
Tegan
Tegan
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
TheFlyingCrocodile
TheFlyingCrocodile
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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