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HMO Licence Leeds

To be a HMO landlord, particularly if it is a large HMO, a licence is essential. For smaller HMOs it is not necessary to have a licence in all areas of England and Wales, so it is best to check with your local authority.
 
We can inform you though, that Leeds City Council requires all HMOs to be licensed. If you feel HMO Licensing, or anything to do with HMOs in Leeds is something you need help with, then reach out to us at Dwell.

What is a HMO?

A property occupied by a minimum of three people that are sharing toilet, bathroom, or kitchen facilities and who form two or more households would be considered to live in a HMO. To be considered one household, persons must be:
  • A partner
  • Immediate family
  • Aunt/Uncle
  • Grandparents
  • Step-Parents or Children
  • Half relatives
Friends in groups of 3 or more would have to live in a HMO.

If a property is rented to five or more people who form more than one household as well as sharing toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities, this is considered a large HMO. Regardless of location, a licence is required for all large HMOs in England and Wales.

In Leeds, a licence is required for all HMOs. Furthermore, Inner Leeds is covered by an Article 4 direction which monitors and controls the use of properties as HMOs. If you have, or plan to purchase, a property that you wish to use as a HMO within an Article 4 area then you will require planning permission to change its use.

What is a HMO licence?

A HMO licence allows a landlord to have multiple tenants, from different households to live in one property. It is a legal system used by local authorities or councils, in England and Wales, to ensure living standard safety is met and the occupation of properties are suitable for it’s intended use.

Accommodation types that use a HMO Licence in Leeds

The most common types of accommodation that require a HMO licence are:
  • Bedsits
  • Shared housing
  • Some B&B facilities
  • Guardian occupied properties
  • Hostels
  • Guesthouses
  • Houses let to lodgers
  • Residential Care Homes

What is required for a HMO licence in Leeds?

To be granted a HMO licence, there are a whole host of health and safety regulations that must be met to ensure properties are safe and suitable for tenants, including:
  • Minimum room size - HMO landlords must ensure that the property is not overcrowded and that each bedroom meets room size requirements.
  • Waste collection- adequate space for refuse as well as disposal facilities must be provided to ensure waste can be disposed of in a safe manner.
  • Fire Safety - HMOs are a greater fire risk than standard buy-to-let (BTL) properties and a multiple occupancy house must meet fire safety standards. These standards may include having fire doors installed, emergency lighting, escape routes, smoke alarms to be fitted and regularly maintained and the supply of fire extinguishers and blankets for shared areas.
  • Gas and Electrical Safety - gas safety checks should be carried out yearly with a certificate issued. Electrical items must undergo PAT testing every five years.  
  • Furniture - if you plan to provide any furniture for tenants it must be fit for purpose, clean and safe. Any upholstered furniture, including sofas and mattresses, must meet fire safety standards and carry the fire-resistant symbol.
Health and safety regulations stipulate that landlords must supply separate toilet facilities to the main bathroom if it is a large HMO. It is advised that multiple occupancy housing will require one bathroom for every four tenants. Bathroom facilities must be heated, lit, and ventilated with a constant supply of hot and cold running water.

Kitchen space must be a minimum space requirement depending on the number of occupiers and have sufficient cooking and washing facilities with no more than one floor’s distance from the intended user. A communal seating area must also be provided within all HMOs and there must be adequate storage space.

How much does a HMO licence cost?

HMO licence fees will vary depending on your local licensing authority, but they normally are very similar amounts. Some councils will adjust their pricing based on the size of the house.

In Leeds, there is a currently flat fee of £975 which is split into two stages. The first stage is £635, and the second stage is the remaining balance of £340.

If you are a member of the Leeds Rental Standard (LRS) there is a discount of £150 applied to the second stage fee amount, making it £190 payable and a reduced total of £825. The amount is normally invoiced rather than being payable at the time of application.

Asides from health and safety regulations and property criteria being met, the person deemed as in control of the property, or the managing agent, must go on an HMO course to ensure their obligations are understood. This course is currently run by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) for £75.

Do all HMOs need to be licensed?

The need for a HMO to be licensed is determined by your location and the specification of the local authority that property falls within. All large HMOs need to be licensed regardless of location. In Leeds, all HMOs including smaller ones must be covered by a licence however this isn’t the case with some other councils.
If you plan to rent out a property to 3 or more tenants, it is essential to check with your local council as to whether you will need to obtain a HMO licence.

How long does it take to get a HMO licence?

Local authorities and councils don’t give set timescales for HMO licence applications, but most will be granted within six months of an application being made. It is advisable to submit an application once any required planning permission to change the use of the property to a HMO has been approved and any conversion work has been finished. If you need help obtaining a licence feel free to contact us at Dwell for our HMO Services in Leeds.

Leeds City Council will send a draft licence once your application is complete allowing you 16 days from the issue date to question any conditions on the licence. Once you have your licence, it is usually valid for five years.

HMO Licence inspection in Leeds

The HMO licence is usually granted in draft form first before a HMO inspection of the property but do expect a visit from the council at some stage to verify the property is as described in the application.
 
Due to current under-resourced teams in Leeds City Council, at present, it can take up to five years before an inspection takes place. Following an inspection, if something is found to be unsatisfactory then a notice to rectify the issue will be given. In some cases, HMO licences may be revoked along with large fines being issued. In serious breaches of licence conditions, a prison sentence may even be given.

If you have made an application for a licence in Leeds, you can begin to let rooms provided you have applied for a licence before a fifth tenant moves in. It is advisable to have receipt of the application from Leeds City Council before letting the 5th room.

How we can help

Dwell Leeds are a professional agency specialising in HMO properties in Leeds. We have helped many investors overcome complex challenges presented by the management of HMOs as well as helping investors get good returns on their properties. Find out more about our HMO services here.

If you have any questions, please get in touch, and allow one of our HMO experts to advise you.