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Additional Licensing of HMOs

Please use the link below to apply for your HMO licence.

Public Notice

On 6 June 2023, Worcester City Council, in exercise of its powers under section 56 of the Housing Act 2004 and designated the wards of; Battenhall, Claines, Gorse Hill, Nunnery, Rainbow Hill, St Peters, St Stephens, Warndon, Warndon Parish North, Warndon Parish South in the City of Worcester as subject to Additional Licensing. The Designation comes into force on 6 September 2023 and will last until 31 August 2025.

On 26 May 2020, Worcester City Council, in exercise of its powers under section 56 of the Housing Act 2004 designated five wards in the City of Worcester as subject to Additional Licensing. These wards were: St John, St Clement, Bedwardine, Cathedral and Arboretum. The Designation came into force on 1 September 2020 and will last for 5 years, until 31 August 2025.

The previous designation, whereby the entire City is subject to additional licensing, remains in place until 31 August 2020.

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

Additional Licensing operates in the same way and alongside the existing Mandatory Licensing scheme. However while Mandatory licensing is for HMO with 5 or more people, Additional Licensing applies to all other HMOs including section 257 HMO in the five wards. The same process will be followed, with the same legal obligations and penalties for failing to comply with the requirements.

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 has an Additional Licensing been introduced?

The Council introduced 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 Additional Licensing?

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
  • The property is in the Arboretum, Bedwardine, Cathedral, St Clements or St Johns wards of Worcester.

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 much will a licence cost?

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

When should I apply?

If you are a landlord or managing agent operating a HMO property within (the five designated wards within) Worcester City, and do not already hold a mandatory HMO licence, you will need to apply for an additional licence.  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 if prosecuted is now unlimited or there is a civil penalty fine of up to £30,000.

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

The current Additional Licensing scheme will last for 5 years, until 2025. Your licence can be issued for up to 5 years. Licences will be issued right up until the end of the scheme. The new scheme will last for 5 years, until 2025

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

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.

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