HMO licencing changes, how does it affect Landlords?

May 1, 2019

What are HMO licences?

HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) licensing was first introduced in 2000 following a fatal fire at a student flat in Glasgow.  In order to be granted a licence, properties must meet certain standards, such as the presence of smoke detectors and fire doors. The property in question had no working smoke detectors, and metal bars across a window preventing escape. Councils, UK wide have been implementing HMO licensing in order to protect residents and ensure properties are safe.

It is an offence for landlords to not have a licence in place. The penalties for running an unlicensed HMO or for failing to meet the standards can be severe. Unlimited fines could be served if landlords rent out an unlicensed HMO.

How are the HMO rules changing?

In March 2018, the Government introduced the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 (2018/221) (LHMO 2018).

The scope of mandatory licensing requirements for HMOs changed as of 1 October 2018.

Mandatory licences must be obtained where their property meets the following criteria:

  • It is occupied by five or more persons
  • It is occupied by persons living in two or more separate households
  • It meets the standard test under section 254(2) of the Act
  • It meets the self-contained flat test under section 254(3) of the Act but is not a purpose-built flat situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats
  • It meets the converted building test under section 254(4) of the Act.

What are the obligations of the landlord required by the licence?

Landlords must meet the following standards:

  • The house has to be suitable for the number of people living there
  • The person responsible for managing the property – which could be the landlord or an agent, must be considered ‘fit and proper’ – with no criminal record or history of breaching landlord laws of the code of practice
  • You must provide the local council with an updated gas safety certificate every year
  • You must install and maintain smoke alarms
  • You must also provide safety certificates for all electrical appliances within the property when requested

How can Tio help landlords?

Under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, common parts of a building containing dwellings need to have a Fire Risk assessment. After carrying this out you’ll need to keep up to date with all the regular on-going fire safety tasks and duties, in order to stay compliant. We developed Tio to help you make all that happen – our app even reminds you to review your risk assessment when necessary and now covers additional checks required by landlords such as Gas safety.

Tio is a simple and affordable fire safety management tool. It allows you to delegate fire safety tasks and the associated record keeping. Tio provides a simple weekly report, reassuring you that all is in order and up to date, or highlighting any actions required.

Unlike with a paper-based log book, your fire safety records and data are never lost or damaged and are available online anytime, anywhere. So all relevant parties are kept updated on your fire safety compliance.

To learn how vital fire safety tasks can be completed simply and efficiently in your business, visit and start your FREE Tio trial.