Additional Licensing of HMOs

Please use the link below to apply for your HMO licence from 1 September 2015.

Public Notice

On 17 March 2015, Worcester City Council, in exercise of its powers under section 56 of the Housing Act 2004, designated the City of Worcester in its entirety as subject to Additional Licensing. The designation shall come into effect on 1 September 2015.

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What is Additional Licensing and what does it mean for me as a landlord?

Before 1 September 2015, only HMOs which have three or more storeys* and are occupied by five or more people, that form two or more households, need a licence (this excludes self-contained flats).

In Worcester, however, the Council has agreed to implement an Additional Licensing scheme, which requires all privately rented HMOs, which are located across the City, to be licensed.

Additional Licensing will operate in the same way and alongside the existing Mandatory Licensing scheme. The same process will be followed, with the same legal obligations and penalties for failing to comply with the requirements.

* 'Storeys' can include basements and loft conversions but not usually cellars or attics (unless they are converted into living accommodation).

If I am a tenant, how will licensing affect me?

Additional Licensing will help ensure that tenants are provided with the fundamental basic standards of accommodation, which include safe gas and electrical appliances, fire safety precautions, suitable room sizes, and adequate provision of kitchens and bathrooms for the number of occupants. Additional Licensing also requires that the HMO is maintained so that it does not have a negative impact on the local neighbourhood, and that the landlord takes reasonable steps to deal with any anti-social behaviour by the occupants.

Landlords and managing agents who own or manage a HMO located within the designated area have a legal obligation to hold a licence and ensure they comply with the conditions. Those not meeting the basic requirements may need to make improvements to the property to bring them up to standard. Landlords failing to do so may incur penalties and could be prosecuted.

Why is Additional Licensing being introduced?

The Council is introducing an Additional Licensing scheme in Worcester to:

  • Ensure that these HMOs are managed properly
  • Improve neighbourhoods
  • Reduce complaints of noise, rubbish, housing disrepair and other anti-social behaviour related to HMOs
  • Continue to improve the HMO private rented sector
  • Ensure the licence holder and manager are ‘fit and proper'
  • Ensure fundamental basic standards of accommodation are provided including safe gas and electrical appliances, fire safety precautions, suitable room sizes and adequate provision of kitchens and bathrooms for the number of occupants
  • Assist in identifying and dealing with rogue landlords

Will I need to apply for a licence under the new scheme?

Landlords and managing agents will need to apply for a licence to run a property as a HMO if:

  • The property is occupied by three or more people and
  • The tenants form two or more households

Although the Council is aware of many of the HMOs to which this scheme applies, it is not the responsibility of Worcester City Council to prompt or remind you to apply for a licence.  The responsibility lies with the owner or the managing agent, who is usually the person having control of the property (receives the rent for the property).

How do I apply for a licence?

As of 1 September 2015 you will be able to apply online for an HMO licence.

How much will a licence cost?

Read the Strategy and Private Sector Housing fee table for a full breakdown of fees and charges

When does it start and when should I apply?

The Additional Licensing designation will come into effect on 1 September 2015. If you are a landlord or managing agent operating a HMO property within Worcester City, and do not already hold a mandatory HMO licence, you will need to apply for an additional licence from 1st September 2015.  It is an offence under Section 72 of the Housing Act 2004, if a person having control of, or managing a HMO operates a licensable HMO which is required to be licensed under the Additional or Mandatory Licensing Scheme, but which is not so licensed. The maximum fine is now unlimited.

How long will Additional Licensing last and how long will my licence last for?

The Additional Licensing scheme will last for 5 years, until 2020. Your licence can be issued for up to 5 years. Licences will be issued right up until the end of the scheme.

What is a Section 257 HMO?

Section 257 of the Act relates to a ‘converted block of flats' which is a building (or part of a building) which has been converted into, and consists of, self-contained flats. Buildings of this description are HMOs if

  • the conversion work was not done in accordance with 'appropriate building standards' and
  • less than two-thirds of the self-contained flats are owner-occupied.

‘Appropriate building standards' usually means the 1991 Building Regulations or whichever later Building Regulations applied at the time the work was done.

The legislation which covers houses converted solely into self contained flats ('Section 257 HMOs) and can be found at Section 257 HMOs

What does this mean for the Landlord Accreditation Scheme?

Worcester City Council developed the Accreditation Scheme to recognise the many local landlords who are committed to providing good quality, properly managed rented accommodation.  Due to the implementation of the Additional Licensing Scheme, we will no longer be accepting applications for the Worcester City Council Accreditation Scheme.

When will the Accreditation Scheme end?

From 17 March 2015, we will no longer be accepting applications for the Accreditation Scheme 

I am already an accredited landlord; do I need to apply for a HMO licence on 1st September 2015?

Yes

Do I receive any discount for being an accredited landlord?

The discount for accredited properties is no longer available. Only applications submitted before 30th November 2015 were eligible.

Report a suspected unlicensed HMO

Please use our report a suspected unlicensed HMO form to report a suspected HMO to Worcester City Council for investigation.

Housing in the Private Sector – further information

Help and support to homeowners, landlords and tenants living in private housing.

How to contact us

If you cannot find the information you are looking for, or if you need further advice, please contact the Private Sector Housing team.