A HMO (house in multiple occupancy) consists of three or more people living together as two or more households, usually sharing facilities such as kitchens and/or bathrooms. It could be a bedsit, shared house or a flat.
Portsmouth City Council have decided to use their discretionary power to extend HMO Licencing. As a result, all HMO’s i.e., properties occupied by 3 or more persons living as 2 or more households will require a licence. Those occupied by 5 or more persons will continue to require a Mandatory Licence requirement.
As from 1st September 2023 owners of smaller HMO properties (3-5 persons) in Portsmouth will need to apply for an Additional Licence which will only be granted a licence if certain criteria are met. The intention is to ensure that all HMO properties are in a safe and liveable condition.
The new application requires that the applicant / landlord supplies safety certificates, a Fire Risk Assessment, and floor plans. The plans must be fully labelled showing all rooms i.e. bedroom 1, bathroom etc and must also show room sizes. The plans must also indicate the location of fire detectors, fire blankets, extinguishers etc. The plans do not have to be professionally drawn but must provide a clear indication of the layout.
To be granted a HMO Licence a person is required to be “fit and proper” and will be asked to sign a declaration to confirm they do not fit any of the criteria set out in the link below.
Licences will be granted for two and a half years or five years. In some cases, only a 1-year licence will be granted.
Failure to apply for a new licence, or any applications that remain incomplete or are received after 1 December 2023, could be subject to enforcement action under section 72 of the Housing Act 2004, for which, upon conviction, an unlimited fine may be issued. A civil penalty of up to £30,000 may also apply.
More details and an application form can be found at the link below on the website of Portsmouth City Council.
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