Currently, a landlord of a house in multiple occupation (HMO) needs to obtain a licence from their local housing authority if it is three storeys or more and occupied by five people or more who are not all related.

If the landlord for whatever reason needs to evict their tenant and it is an assured shorthold tenancy, they will need to prove that the property has a valid HMO licence with both the name of the authority and the issue date.

The government is now seeking to introduce a change in England from April 2018 so that, regardless of the number of storeys, any property with five or more occupiers (not all related) will require a HMO licence. It is anticipated that this could affect an additional 160,000 properties and bring them into the mandatory licensing regime.

The proposed new HMO licence will also be much more detailed and specify how many people can live in each bedroom and which rooms in the property cannot be used.

We are still awaiting the final decision on this proposal so keep checking the website for up to date information.

If you are a landlord of a HMO property, or a landlord who thinks you may be affected by these proposed new rules, and need legal advice, call 01752 203500 or email me via

philip oke

Philip Oke, partner

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