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Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

What if your landlord does not have an HMO licence?

If your landlord should have an HMO licence but does not, they:

  • may not be able to evict you

  • could be ordered to repay your rent

  • may be banned from renting out properties

Sometimes the council can take over managing the property.

Eviction when the HMO is not licensed

Your landlord cannot evict you with a section 21 notice if:

  • the HMO should be licensed but is not

  • the landlord does not have a temporary exemption from licensing

What is a temporary exemption?

Sometimes the council says that a property does not need a licence for a short time.

They might do this to:

  • give the landlord time to meet HMO licensing standards

  • change the property from an HMO into a family home

Your landlord could give you a section 21 notice if they have a temporary exemption.

Your landlord must follow the legal eviction process.

Rent repayment orders

Your landlord can get a fine and could be forced to repay up to 12 months' rent.

You can apply for a rent repayment order using this form. You may have to pay a fee.

Any housing benefit or universal credit you used to pay your rent will be taken back by the council or the DWP.

Help to get a rent repayment order

Contact the council or use the guidance that comes with the form if you need help to apply.

These not for profit companies could also help you:

Banning orders

Councils can ban landlords from renting out properties if they are convicted of breaking housing law, for example by running an unlicensed HMO.

Find out more about action a council can take against landlords who break the law on Oxford council's website.

Last updated: 24 October 2022

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