Below are a series of questions and answers regarding the Additional HMO Licensing consultation.
What are the council consulting on?
The council are consulting on a proposed city-wide Additional HMO Licensing scheme for three and four person Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Why don't you just go ahead and introduce Additional HMO Licensing without consultation?
It is a statutory requirement that the council consult with all residents, landlords, business and other stakeholders to introduce Additional HMO Licensing.
Why are you consulting?
Part 2, Section 80 (9) of the Housing Act 2004 allows for Additional Licensing of HMOs for example in a particular area or whole borough for those not covered by Mandatory Licensing.
The local housing authority must:
How long will the consultation last?
The council are consulting for 12 weeks from the 13 October 2020 until 5 January 2021.
How can I have my say?
What happens after the consultation?
A consultation report will be produced to record the views/opinions of those consulted. At this time the council will then decide whether to:
What is Additional HMO Licensing?
The Housing Act 2004 provides a power for Local Authorities to licence HMOs which are not covered by Mandatory Licensing. Part 2 of the Housing Act provides for Additional Licensing of HMOs for example, in an area or the whole borough.
The Act permits Additional Licensing of HMOs that are not licensed under the Mandatory Scheme or Selective Licensing schemes but where the council has used its power to subject HMOs across the borough to Additional Licensing.
Why are you considering the introduction of Additional HMO Licensing and what are its benefits?
The private rented sector is an important part of providing a diverse housing offer in the city:
Where are you considering the introduction of Additional HMO Licensing?
The council are proposing the introduction of a city-wide Additional HMO Licensing scheme.
What evidence is there that Additional HMO Licensing is needed?
Detailed evidence for the proposed scheme can be found in the consultation document on our consultation page.
What properties would be affected by Additional HMO Licensing?
The scheme will cover all HMOs of any size building, occupied by three or four unrelated persons.
I thought you already licensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)?
Under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004, the council has a statutory duty to licence privately rented HMOs occupied by five or more persons in two or more households, sharing an amenity regardless of the number of storeys to be licensed. This is known as Mandatory Licensing.
Is this a property or landlord licence scheme?
This is a property licence scheme, and every property a landlord owns within the proposed boundary would need its own licence.
How long will the licence last?
The scheme lasts for five years and will include Mandatory and Discretionary conditions aimed at ensuring licensed properties are safe, meet basic standards and are managed in a satisfactory way.
Is the licence transferable?
A property licence is not transferable to another property, person or organisation.
Would an empty property need an Additional HMO licence?
A licence is only required if the property is privately rented and occupied as a three or four person HMO.
Are any HMOs exempt?
Yes, these are listed in Schedule 14, of The Housing Act 2004. In brief, these are HMOs that are:
What is the application process?
The application process will be an online application which can be found on our webpages. The HMO will require an inspection.
What would happen if a landlord failed to apply for a licence?
It is a legal requirement for landlords to apply for a licence, and a criminal offence if a landlord fails to do so. This could then involve a civil penalty notice fine of up to £30,000 or prosecution through the courts.
Who should be the licence holder?
The council can only grant a licence to someone who is in control of the property. It is the owner's responsibility to ensure that an application for a licence is made for their property; however, they may not necessarily be the licence holder.
Landlords who manage their properties directly should apply for a licence. Where a managing agent is used, the managing agent could apply for the licence and the landlord will need to provide information about the property and give their consent.
Where a manager is employed, financial arrangements must be in place to ensure that any works deemed necessary for the proper management and maintenance of the property can be carried out.
A limited company can be the licence holder.
You must be a resident in the UK to be a licence holder.
What happens if I don't get a licence?
If you don't apply for a licence and continue to rent your property, then you will be committing a criminal offence.
What happens if the licence conditions are breached?
If a licence is issued and the conditions are subsequently breached, this could lead to the council taking court action or issuing a civil penalty of up to £30,000.
Breaching the licence conditions could lead to the revocation of the licence unless a suitable alternative licence holder could be found.
Will my property be inspected?
The council will inspect every property at least once, when an application has been made.
How much will a licence cost?
The proposed licence fees can be found on the consultation page.
Can I pay in instalments?
There will be payment options, which include
Isn't this just a way of raising revenue for the council?
Any income generated from licensing fees can only cover the running costs of the scheme. The council are not allowed to make any surplus on the scheme to be used for any other purpose.
I'm a landlord of a property that could be subject to Additional HMO Licensing. What do I need to do?
If you are a landlord of an HMO, irrespective of the number of stories that are occupied by three or four unrelated persons then you would need to apply for a licence if the scheme is introduced.
I'm a tenant of a property that could be subject to Additional HMO Licensing. How will it affect me?
Licensing of HMOs requires landlords to provide items such as gas safety certificates, the safe provision of electrical appliances and furniture and to keep the fire detection and alarm system in working order.
This should provide a greater degree of safety and reassurance to the tenant.
Tenants will have reassurance that checks have been done to ensure both the property and any shared facilities are suitable and that the property is suitable to be occupied by the number of people living there.
Will I be able to see which properties are licensed?
The council will keep a list of properties that are licensed, and this will be publicly available on our website.
What conditions will apply to Additional HMO Licensing?
There will be a range of conditions attached to each licence which will relate to the management of the property. There are some mandatory conditions, which we are required by law to place on the licence.
These include conditions regarding fire safety.
The council have the discretion to attach a range of local conditions. These will include conditions regarding property management, waste disposal and dealing with anti-social behaviour amongst others.
Full details of these conditions can be found in the consultation document Annex 1 on our consultation page.
I'm not a tenant but I do live in the area so how would it affect me?
Additional HMO Licensing will ensure that HMOs not subject to Mandatory licensing in the privately rented properties in your area are being managed efficiently and will enable the council to take enforcement action against a wider range of properties where there may be problems.
This should result in benefits to all residents, businesses and visitors to the local area.
Will you penalise those that don't licence?
There will be a targeted approach to enforcement and the council will use a variety of methods to find those that haven't licensed. We will respond to complaints received about unlicensed property.
Where necessary we will seek to take appropriate enforcement against action those that continue to refuse to license their property.
How will you know which ones are unlicensed?
Tenants will be able to inform the council if they believe their property is unlicensed. The council will use a variety of methods, working with other partners to seek out unlicensed properties.
There will be a public register of licensed property, so it will be easy for residents to find out if the property they are concerned about is licensed or not.
If you decide to introduce Additional HMO Licensing, when will it commence?
The consultation runs until 5 January 2021, after which a report will be taken to Cabinet on the outcome of the consultation in March 2021.
The proposed date for the implementation of the scheme if approved by Cabinet will be in the summer 2021 and people affected will be given appropriate notice, so you won't need to apply until then.
How do I report issues regarding a small three and four person HMO?
Will the additional three and four person HMO licensing scheme reduce the number of HMO’s operating in Salford?
The introduction of an Additional HMO Licensing Scheme will enable the council to ensure three and four person HMOs are well managed and be sure that people are living in safe and decent conditions and not causing issues for the wider community.
How can international investors / landlords manage small HMO’s effectively?
Both the licence holder and property manager must complete the registration process. They are required to pass the fit and proper test and be a resident within the UK jurisdiction for enforcement of the licence.
Does the additional HMO licensing scheme have to be implemented across the whole of Salford?
No, however the evidence contained within the consultation report suggests that the issues found with small 3 and 4 person HMO’s were across the city.
Can you introduce a reward system for good compliant landlords?
A reduced fee is proposed for early licence applications.
Can you stop small three and four person HMOs from getting planning permission and operating in Salford?
Salford introduced an Article 4 direction in 2018 meaning that from this date planning permission has been required for small HMOs in Central Salford and the Wards of Barton and Eccles. We are looking at whether this should be extended to cover other areas of the city. Any planning applications for HMOs have to be considered against local planning policies, the National Planning Policy Framework and other material planning considerations. We cannot automatically refuse planning applications, we need to identify what harm would arise in planning terms (such as amenity, car parking, over concentrations and so on).
Why can’t landlords or tenants be fined for persistent waste issues?
The proposed licence conditions include responsibility regarding waste.
Notices can be served under the Prevention of damage by Pests Act 1949 if rubbish attracting vermin is evident.