A HMO (house in multiple occupation) is defined as a building (or part of a building, such as a flat) that is occupied by more than one household and more than 2 persons.
The Housing Act 2004 introduced mandatory licensing for certain HMO properties where the property has three storeys or more, and houses five or more tenants. This legislation became effective from 6th April 2006.Does your property need to be licensed under the Housing Act 2004?
Plymouth City Council has issued guidance on what they consider to be a licensable HMO. For further information please see the Plymouth City Council website
Operating an unlicensed HMO, or allowing a HMO to be occupied by more persons than a licence allows, could incur a fine of up to £20,000. Breaching a licence condition or supplying incorrect information could incur a fine of up to £5,000. In addition, a landlord that operates an unlicensed HMO can be made the subject of a Rent Repayment Order (RPO) by a Residential Property tribunal. This would require the repayment of rent received by the landlord over a period of up to 12 months.
Plymouth City Council are able to offer definitive advice on this issue and we recommend that any landlord with a property housing five or more students on three or more floors reads the information they provide. We have added links to the leaflets that Plymouth City Council have produced on our Useful links
page . Alternatively, contact their Private Rented Team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or telephone on 01752 307079 as soon as possible for advice.
Technically, properties do not need to be licensed whilst empty. However, as soon as a tenant moves in, it would be an offence for the property not to be licensed.
The website of the Department for Communities and Local Government has detailed information on the Housing Act 2004. Please visit www.communities.gov.uk
. The information can be found under ‘Housing’.
Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP)
The Housing Act 2004 required the government to introduce mandatory Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) for all deposits taken on assured short-hold tenancies in England and Wales. The implementation of the scheme was effective from 6th April 2007 and will be valid for all new tenancy agreements from this date.
There are two main aims:
• To ensure good practice in deposit handling, so that when a tenant pays a deposit, and is entitled to get it back, they can be assured that this will happen.
• To assist with the resolution of disputes, each scheme will have an Alternative Dispute Resolution service (ADR). This will encourage tenants and landlords to incorporate best practice methods of, for example, agreeing on the condition of the property and using inventories.
• If Landlords take deposits, they will be required to join a statutory tenancy deposit scheme.
•These deposits are then safeguarded.
•Tenants will get back all the deposit that they are entitled to.
•Each scheme offers ways of resolving disputes which aims to be faster and cheaper than taking court action.
Landlords will be able to choose between two types of scheme: a custodial scheme and (two) insurance-based schemes.
Please note – The landlord or agent must secure a tenant’s deposit within 30 days of receiving it.
If you have any queries regarding the letting of your property, please do not hesitate to contact the office.