Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licences currently apply to most HMOs that are occupied by 5 or more people on 3 or more storeys. Please note that the Government has consulted upon removing the 3 storey minimum requirement for all but large purpose-built blocks.
Guidance on HMO licensing
The Government have produced 2 guides for HMO licensing which give very good information about the need for licensing including: exempt properties, what constitutes a storey and the licensing process. These are available in 'Supporting information & standards' on the right.
The licensing fire and amenity standards are used to assess whether premises are suitable to be a licensed HMO and for any conditions attached to a licence.
Provision of amenities and fire protection are able to be requirements in licensing conditions, but not if a property has inadequate natural lighting, ventilation or room sizes.
Licences are issued with conditions, some compulsory, some Sheffield conditions and some that require the property to be brought to correct standards.
Some of these conditions are necessary because we do not usually inspect the property before issuing the licence and it would not be appropriate to include the depth of information on the licence application form.
As part of the issue of a licence we have a consultation stage at which landlords have an opportunity to check the proposed licence conditions and to make representations.
Apply for an HMO Licence
Please apply for a new licence using the Full Licence Application Form. We also recommend using the Guidance Notes when completing the form.
Please print, complete and return it by post (together with all supporting documents) to: Private Housing Standards, Moorfoot Building, Sheffield, S1 4PL.
Where there are more than 2 licence holders or managers requiring declarations, a new form for additional fit and proper declarations is provided.
Renew an HMO Licence
We have a shorter form available for licence renewals. To qualify as a renewal we must receive this form no later than the day of the expiry of the previous licence.
Ultimate responsibility to re-licence in a timely fashion remains with the landlord.
Licensing renewals are for:
- properties that comply with our standards or have existing arrangements approved from the first licence
- when there are no changes from the original licence other than complying with licence conditions and standards or improvements over and above standard
- when the application is made before the expiry of the previous licence
- when the Licensee and/or manager is as per expiring licence with any variations approved within the licensing period
Licence renewals will usually be for 5 years from the date of the expiry of the previous licence.
Fees for 5 person houses that comply with all of the above are entitled to the fees of £430 plus £10 for every additional person. Where all of the above do not apply then a full licence application and fee will become payable.
There are a range of fees for licensing covering initial applications, renewals and occasions where a new owner takes over the current licence.
Please contact us if you are unsure about the fee that would apply.
If you are using the downloadable Application Form, you can use a debit or credit card to pay your HMO licence fees online.
Please note that a credit card payment will incur a bank charge of 1.5%.
HMO fee calculations
In the interest of openness we have produced spreadsheets showing how our licence fees are calculated.
In calculating these fees we used the Government's current cost calculator for the main fee and compared it to the calculator used to calculate the original fees.
The calculations were almost identical and all other fees were then calculated using the old calculator which was a lot more flexible to use. All calculations used are based upon an average length of time to process an application and check upon licence conditions.
Late applications & charges
Where we identify properties where applications are over 2 months late there is a £150 additional charge to reflect the additional work involved in identifying and dealing with these houses.
Licences will usually be for 5 years but where applications are late this will be 5 years from when the licence should have been issued, should an application have arrived on time, subject to a minimum period of 2 years.
HMO Licence Training Course
We think it is important that licence holders and managers have been trained effectively.
As part of our licence conditions, there is a training requirement for landlords who have not received training since 2005, which is immediately prior to the implementation of the Housing Act 2004.
This training will also be required where a landlord is seen to be ignoring any previous training they have received. Where training is required it will be specified on the Licence conditions we send out to landlords.
Working in partnership with the Residential Landlord Association (RLA), we have developed training to satisfy licence conditions.
The RLA offers a professional development course for landlords, which satisfies Sheffield HMO Licence training conditions but is also available for landlords who want to improve their knowledge in this area.
The training is delivered by a landlord and allows networking between landlords, managers and agents as part of the training. This course is commissioned by us and is the preferred training course to satisfy licence training conditions.
HMOs without a licence
We are committed to work with landlords to help fulfil their licensing obligations. However, we are aware that there are still a number of houses that require a licence but where we have not received applications.
Investigations into missing licences
We regularly carry out investigations to identify houses that require licences. Not every house that is occupied on 3 storeys by 5 or more people requires a licence so may not appear on our list of licensed houses.
Where landlords have not applied for a licence they will be at risk of:
- criminal prosecutions with unlimited fines
- a civil penalty of up to £30,000
- losing rent through possible rent repayment orders. The Council have to consider these in every case
- problems getting possession of properties due to the non-availability of Section 21, Housing Act 1988
Where a landlord or agent has a previous history of non-compliance with licensing legislation we may go direct to legal proceedings for failure to apply.
Report an unlicensed HMO
Let us know if you suspect that a property requires a licence.