HMO Licensing – what’s the point?

by Mark Alexander

9:00 AM, 16th October 2012
About 7 years ago

HMO Licensing – what’s the point?

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HMO Licensing – what’s the point?

This article about HMO Licensing is very different to many of the other articles I’ve written as I’m looking for answers as opposed to giving them.

I can accept that the principles of HMO licensing is to provide safe homes and I’m all for that but that’s not what I’m really getting at by raising the questions I have in this article.

Can anybody tell me the following please, either for their local area or the UK as a whole?

  • How many HMO’s are there?
  • How many HMO Licences have been issued?
  • How much money has been collected from HMO licensing?
  • How many HMO’s have local authorities closed down due to being unsafe or unlicensed?
  • How many fines have been imposed on landlords operating unlicensed HMO’s?
  • What is the value of these fines?
  • How has the money raised as a result of HMO licensing and fines been spent?

Thanks in advance for your answers.

PS – I wonder whether we will see a similar set of results when landlord licensing becomes the norm too?



Comments

HB Welcome

13:07 PM, 16th October 2012
About 7 years ago

Hello Mark,
A bit out of date but might be of use;
http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/pdf/1446438.pdf

mike wilson

18:47 PM, 16th October 2012
About 7 years ago

Mark,
Firstly Scotland has a different legal system.
Secondly hmos in scotland apply to any property where 3 unconected persons live (excluding owner occupiers).
So, as an example, In Aberdeen (pop approx 200k) there are some 750 hmos registered.
The fees currently are £450 but have been as much as £1200 for a 3 year period. (The council was trying to get revenue by overcharging, but that has now stopped.)
The accounts for the hmo dept have been obtained under freedom of info, but as you can see from above income is about £125k pa.
The costs of the scheme in Aberdeen merely pay for the checking and inspection of registered hmos. There have been about 2 cases I am aware of of unlicenced hmos - ie not much illegality.
Councils tend to try and avoid closing down hmos because the tenants have to be housed, so closing accommodation is problematic.
Summary: council jobs for boys not doing much.
Good landlords: a lot of unnecessary paperwork

0:32 AM, 17th October 2012
About 7 years ago

I will put these questions to Newcastle City Council and let them come back with the answers.

11:07 AM, 17th October 2012
About 7 years ago

HMOs are left wing base plans pointing to an eventual (wealth) tax on all
houses for all uses including everyday residential on a sliding scale starting at the
top of the wealth ladder and coming down to all as we become accustomed to it.
Yes I know there is 'Council Tax' but this has a different name so collecting
twice is ok. Local Labour councils have even used courts to push through this
groundwork (at HMO level) set in place when they were in power against the
wishes of the current Conseravtive(Lib) government. It's a simple a that, there
is nothing else to say.
well .. just this ...
What state of affairs is the country in when the party
in power was set to squash everything (including HMOs) and the parties not in
power can still execute plans via local councils and courts. More to the point
why do they win in court, and why should we constantly be in a state where government
power is eroded by courts (eg European malarkey) YET councils use courts to successfully
put in place plans such as HMOs? Majorities / coalitions / red judges take your pick.
PS - Please don't add a subdivision "local party in power" to your HMO statistical analsysis just in case I'm wrong.

13:16 PM, 19th October 2012
About 7 years ago

Mark, below is some interesting stats released by Oxford City Council (under a FOI request) who have not only introduced additional licencing but have invoked the article four directive.

1a) How many HMO's with 5 or more tenants
on 3 or more floors does the council believe that there are in Oxford?

The estimate is 650

1b) How many HMO's with 5 or more tenants
on 2 or more floors does the council believe that there are in Oxford?

The estimate is 1,800

1c) How many HMO's with 3 or more tenants
on 2 or more floors does the council believe that there are in Oxford?

The estimate is 4,200

1d) In each of those cases, how many are
currently registered? (please indicate each category separately)

HMO's with five or more tenants on three or more floors – 529
( 121 not yet registered)

HMOs with five or more tenants on two or more floors – 1,255
( 545 not yet registered)

HMO's with three or more tenants on two or more floors – 1,617
( 3583 not yet registered)

1e) In each of those cases, how many have
had registration enforced upon them by the council discovering them?

HMO's with five or more tenants on three or more floors – 17

Other HMOs – over 150 from 70 landlords

2a) How many HMO's with 6 or more tenants
does the council believe that there are in Oxford?

This figure is not available because six tenants is not
a threshold used for requiring a licence

2b) In each of those cases, how many have
fulfilled all of the criteria for an HMO License?

469 houses have been licensed with six or more occupants.

2c) In each of those cases, how many have
have had an additional kitchen sink or dishwasher enforced on them?

In total, 75 houses have required these additional
facilities.

3a) How many traditional 20th Century
HMO's with a "box room" smaller than 6.51m2 are there in the
city?

The Council does not have this information.

3b) How many of these has the council
removed from the landlord the right to let this room?

To date, the Council has issued 40 licences with a condition
relating to ceasing the use of bedrooms smaller than 6.5m2 in traditional
20th century houses built primarily for family use that have been turned
into HMOs.

18:00 PM, 20th October 2012
About 7 years ago

hi Mark, just got back from a 2 week holiday and you're looking for answers !!??
when you're talking about something slightly political you should try to look at the very long tear view; 'where is this leading to? ' should always be at the forefront of your mind.

I'll give you a clue; a few years ago the association of local councils went to the then PM, Mrs. Thatcher, and pointed out to her that there was a very big discrepancy with local council tax charges and they also needed to charge alot more money as civil servants pensions would eventually take up 30% of all council revenue.

the " pole tax " idea was born. every individual would have to pay a small amount for " services supplied by the council "
so a large family of 10 in a council house, not paying any rent, would certainly have to pay the new individual service tax......or go to jail.
an olde dear on her own in a large house would pay far less than she was at the moment.

well, as we all know, it all went tits up and Maggie lost her job.

but the problem still remains. so now we have a new solution.

a rented property is now a business because it earns money for the owner/agent and an HMO in no longer one property but is as many properties as there are occupants.

but in order to establish who and how many....you first have to get very landlord to register their properties and themselves. this time not with a mallet but with piecemeal legislation. coaxing every landlord into taking very small amounts of bad tasting medicine every few months.

the long term goal of the 2004 housing act is to generate far more tax, to be paid by landlords
( they already have a bad name so it won't be our fault )
and they have no choice but to pass on all additional costs ( the tax ) onto their tenants.

so an HMO with 4 rooms will be taxed thus; common areas £xxx ( similar to council tax )
each room £xxx ( similar to council tax )

a rented house council tax £xxx
licence to rent £xxx ( similar to taxi cab licence )

landlord licence to operate £xxx ( similar to a taxi operators licence )

does this answer your question ??

2:16 AM, 21st October 2012
About 7 years ago

Cosmo it would appear from your conjecture that HMO's will effectively be taxed out of existence.
Where do all the under 35's who are tenants reside!?
What about the poor LL who is prevented from converting his HMO into a normal dwelling or say 2 flats, with that Article 4 regulation.
They could; if prevented from letting by the tax burden have an HMO that is unlettable amd unsaleable!!
Absolutely bonkers!
Then the council will have to pay out fortunes in TA costs for all those tenants that can no longer afford a HMO room.
I don't know much about HMO's but am I correct about my initial assessment of what you stated?
I don't think banks would be very impressed to know their HMO stock could to a large extent be worthless!
Homeowners will struggle to sell big houses which have been traditionally been purchased by investor LL for HMO conversion.
It seems while you have been away the lunatics have taken over more control of the asylum!!!??


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