In order to grant a licence for an HMO a local housing authority has to be satisfied that:
- The proposed licence holder and any manager of the property is a fit and proper person
- The proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licenceProper management standards are being applied at the property and
- Proper management standards are being applied at the property and
- That the HMO is reasonably suitable, or can be made suitable, for occupation by the number of tenants allowed under the licence with at least the minimum prescribed standards of amenities and facilities. These include the number, type and quality of shared bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities.
The licensing application form contains questions which enable the council to decide whether or not the landlord and the property meet the criteria and can be given a licence.
Minimum amenity standards have been set by the government relating to requirements for kitchens, bathrooms and toilets in an HMO, but a local council may use their own local standards if these are at least the same as or higher than the minimum prescribed standards.
If an HMO does not have the minimum standards the local authority has a number of options.
They can decide to:
- Grant a licence with conditions that extra amenities will be put in within a specified timeframe; or
- Grant a licence for a smaller maximum number of occupants based on the amenities which are installed; or
- In properties with the worst conditions they may decide not to grant a licence at all if they cannot be brought up to required standards.
Not all HMOs will need to be inspected prior to a licence being granted, but there will be some occasions where an inspection is necessary to assess suitability.