How do I end an unlicensed HMO in Newham?

How do I end an unlicensed HMO in Newham?

9:29 AM, 22nd March 2024, About 3 months ago 11

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Hello, any advice is much appreciated. I have an unlicensed HMO in Newham which I need to draw to an end with minimum financial ruin….

I was living there with 2 lodgers. 6 months ago I moved out and another lodger moved in. They are all on lodger agreements – are you understanding that this may complicate things?

I recently started preparing to apply for an HMO additional licence as Newham call them but was alarmed to discover the whole borough has Article 4 Directions in place. So, therefore, the planning permission and the licence would both be rejected.

As I understand it, I need to apply for a Temporary Licence Exemption first, and then evict the tenants?

The tenants are good people but from what I understand I’m basically at their mercy to agree to leave?

Any advice on the procedure and timeline if they didn’t move out would also be appreciated.

Thank you,


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11:04 AM, 22nd March 2024, About 3 months ago

How long did you move out of the property for and did you agree to a third person moving in as a lodger?

I have very little knowledge about lodgers but I think you would have exceeded the amount of lodgers you are allowed even if you live in the property and if you moved out then they would no longer be lodgers because they would have exclusive use of the property.
If you can incentivise them to leave that would be the easiest way.

Mark Smith

11:39 AM, 22nd March 2024, About 3 months ago

Ooops you have got yourself into a few different messes here! Assuming your move out was intended to be permanent not a holiday eg you moved your stuff out and rented out your bedroom? )

Yes you created an HMO you no longer have a room in the house.

Your lodgers now most likely become tenants - but they don't and never have had have an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, so you won't be able to do a section 23 eviction and you may find it difficult to evict them on other grounds using a section 8 notice. .

You are also liable for income tax on any rent received - and if you don't declare it because you will have HMCR on your back too .

You have probably changed council tax liabilities! - and unless you have got a rental agreement that says the tenant pays it you are liable!

In you shoes I would make sure I got legal advice from a housing specialist - in finding a way forward.

You have made a VERY serious error in letting out to an extra tenant after you left the property with a lodger licence rather than an assured shorthold tenancy.

You should probably also accept that you may need to cast yourself on the mercy and understanding of Newham Council. Explain your situation and that you realise you have done things wrong and need help making things right.

housing officers are more sympathetic to landlords who are honest and seek support - rather than those they catch out !

But sorry I don't think there is an easy or cost free way out .

London Landlord

12:06 PM, 22nd March 2024, About 3 months ago

Could you not move back in at least temporarily and manage the situation from the perspective of a resident landlord/lodger situation. This would give you some breathing space.
Then ask them to find somewhere else as you plan to let the property as one unit on an AST.


16:56 PM, 22nd March 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by London Landlord at 22/03/2024 - 12:06
If moving out changed their status from lodger, (licensee) to tenant, which is likely, then moving back in wouldn't change it back.

If I were you I would try to persuade one or more of them to leave and eventually look to sell it if you no longer need it.

Simon F

22:21 PM, 22nd March 2024, About 3 months ago

If it was you +2 lodgers when Article 4 came into effect then you have "established lawful use" as C4 HMO. You don't need to apply for planning.

Licencing will sometimes just take your word that the use was grandfathered in, but you might need documentary evidence ie lodger agreements and your own proof of address.


1:35 AM, 23rd March 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Simon F at 22/03/2024 - 22:21
Article 4 came into effect circa June 2013 in Newham.
I do not understand how you could possibly establish that the property was historically used as a HMO if you always had two lodgers and you also occupied the property because you were the owner.
However some councils allow you to apply for an HMO licence after the property has been let but usually within the first few weeks of occupation.

Michael Booth

8:13 AM, 23rd March 2024, About 3 months ago

Take no notice,go and seek legal advice .

Gmbrdilos Pilisos

10:14 AM, 23rd March 2024, About 3 months ago

Is it a house or a flat? Where are the tenants from? Are all from the same country? Are they united against your request to vacate the property?

Simon F

16:32 PM, 23rd March 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Stella at 23/03/2024 - 01:35
If the lodgers agreements were written and have been retained, and proof of address for the occupier, you would have records of three unrelated persons being in occupancy on 31/7/2013 (when Art4 came in for Newham) then it was in Use as C4 on that date. You would then need near continuous records afterwards to show that Use never slipped into C3. Very much dependant on the records though.

Bristol Landlord

16:36 PM, 23rd March 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by David at 22/03/2024 - 16:56
David, could you explain why Chris moving back in would not revert the situation back to what it was ie that of owner occupier with lodgers? I’m interested to know.
Why not pay the last lodger who moved in to move out and reclaim that bedroom?
Granted, there would be a period of time when the situation was illegal but that would be in the past and the LA could try to punish him for past transgressions, but that may not happen if the current situation was legal in some way. They will certainly punish him for the current situation if it remains the same.
Chris’s choices seem to be either make the current situation legal or get all the lodgers/tenants to move out.
Chris, I would take advice from a solicitor knowledgeable of landlord and tenant laws to see how to get out of this.
You could try Tessa Shepardson for advice,

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