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Additional licensing

This content applies to England

An introduction to the additional licensing of HMOs.

In addition to the mandatory licensing of certain houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), the Housing Act 2004 gives local authorities the power to impose additional licensing on HMOs beyond the national mandatory regime. For example, a local authority could extend licensing to include all HMOs in a specific area, or the whole district, to include those not covered by mandatory licensing.

Designation and consultation

The Act permits additional licensing where the local authority believes that a significant proportion of HMOs are poorly managed and giving rise to problems for residents or the general public.[1] The use of additional licensing has to be consistent with the local authority's housing strategy and should be co-ordinated with the authority's approach on homelessness, empty properties and antisocial behaviour.[2]

Before making a decision to introduce additional licensing there has to be consultation with those who are likely to be affected. This will include consulting with those who live, work or operate businesses in adjoining local authority areas where they will be affected.[3]

The Act requires that decisions to designate an area as subject to additional licensing be approved by the Secretary of State, unless they fall under general approval.[4] A general approval was issued in 2010 to enable local authorities to make such designations without the Government's approval, provided there is a minimum 10-week consultation period.[5] A general listening and engagement exercise does not constitute consultation for this purpose. The 10-week period will not commence until the local authority produces a draft proposal identifying what is to be designated and its consequences.[6]

Additional licensing can come into force no earlier than three months after the designation has been approved or it falls under the general approval.[7] It will last for as long as set out in the designation, up to a maximum of five years, and its operation must be reviewed from time to time.[8] The local authority can revoke the designation at any time, and must publish notice of this decision.

Selective licensing

Under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004, local authorities also have the power to introduce selective licensing schemes in relation to privately rented housing that are not HMOs. For more information see the page on Selective licensing.

Wales

The information on this page applies only to England. Go to Shelter Cymru for information relating to Wales.

[1] s.56 Housing Act 2004.

[2] s.57 Housing Act 2004.

[3] s.56(3) Housing Act 2004; R (on the application of Regas) v Enfield LBC [2014] EWHC 4173 (Admin); p.13 Approval steps for additional and selective licensing designations in England, DCLG, February 2010.

[4] s.58 Housing Act 2004.

[5] Letter from Minister for Housing and Planning to local authorities dated 30 March 2010.

[6] R (on the application of Regas) v Enfield LBC [2014] EWHC 4173 (Admin).

[7] s.58(4) Housing Act 2004.

[8] s.60 Housing Act 2004.

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